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Happy 2020: Server at Michigan restaurant gets $2,020 tip

FILE - This April 3, 2019, file photo shows a tip box filled with U.S. currency in New York. Money resolutions are common  but keeping them isnt. You can beat the odds by taking a monthly approach to your yearlong money goals. To start, make sure you understand your money situation so you can set realistic targets. Then focus on what you can accomplish each month. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - This April 3, 2019, file photo shows a tip box filled with U.S. currency in New York. Money resolutions are common but keeping them isnt. You can beat the odds by taking a monthly approach to your yearlong money goals. To start, make sure you understand your money situation so you can set realistic targets. Then focus on what you can accomplish each month. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ALPENA, MI – The restaurant bill was $23. But the tip at a small-town restaurant in Michigan was much larger: $2,020.

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me,” server Danielle Franzoni told The Alpena News.

Franzoni, 31, got the tip while working Sunday at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena. The credit card receipt said “Happy New Year. 2020 Tip Challenge.”

Franzoni, a single mother, couldn't believe the number, but her manager assured her the tip was legitimate.

She said she was living in a homeless shelter a year ago. Franzoni plans to use the money to reinstate her driver's license and build savings.

“They don’t know nothing about my story. They don’t know where I’ve come from. They don’t know how hard it’s been,” Franzoni said of the couple who left the tip. “They’re really just doing this out of the kindness of their heart.”

Franzoni later went to a restaurant and left a $20.20 tip.

“That was my pay-it-forward,” she said, smiling. “I couldn’t do the other one.”