Long hours, demanding customers, meager tips; while the work can have its perks, food service can be a thankless job.

But every once in a while we hear stories of a wildly generous customer who shocks a server with an enormous tip. Last Saturday at the Boone County Family Restaurant in Caledonia, Ill., not one, but three servers were the recipients of such kindness.

While folding napkins and shooting the breeze about “school, braces, loans and everything we can’t afford,” waitresses Amay Sabani, 25, Sarah Seckinger, 23, and Amber Kariolich, 28, were approached by a female customer who asked for their names. She then presented each with a check for $5,000.

"This very nice lady walked in today at the restaurant and gave $5,000 to each of my waitresses," said the restaurant's owner via Facebook. "What a nice lady."

When Sabani saw how much the check was for, she told the woman she couldn’t accept it, but the customer, whose name is being withheld, wouldn't take it back.

"Yes, you can take it," the tipper said, reports the Rockford Register Star. "You put that in your pocket.” She added, "I want you girls to take these to help with school and everything else in life."

Sabani said the money would be a big help and has inspired her with kindness.

"I work two jobs and I have a little boy at home, so maybe spend more time with him and do more things with him and just get ahead of myself," she told WIFR. "I hope that one day I have the amount to do the same thing to somebody else."

The restaurant’s owner, Matt Nebiu, told the Register Star that although he had seen the woman there before, she is not a regular customer.

Nebiu said that he didn’t completely believe that the checks were legitimate at first, so he called to confirm them with the bank; and yes, they were good.

"I've never seen anything like this in 30-something years here," he said.

WIFR reports on the story in the video below:

Related stories on MNN:

3 lucky waitresses get $15,000 tip
Random act of kindness leads to waitresses' windfall in Illinois.