Inspired by a video on TikTok, Jenna Arcidiacono raises money on Venmo to reward people who have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, especially when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer banned indoor dining for more than two months.
"I think everyone could just use a smile and something good to brighten their day right now," Arcidiacono told MLive.com.
She has given $7,000 since January, with minimum tips of $1,000. Arcidiacono stopped at Bridge Street Burger Shack in Rockford and stuffed the tip jar with $100 bills.
"Holy cow. I'm like shaking!" an employee said during a surprise captured on video.
"The goodwill it shows, the good lessons it teaches and the seed it plants in the kids that I employ -- I think it's immeasurable," owner Peter Setterington said.
Burger Shack employees gave $500 of the tip to North Kent Connect, a thrift store and food pantry.
Arcidiacono knows the challenges of the restaurant industry during COVID-19: She owns Amore Trattoria Italiana in Comstock Park, near Grand Rapids.
"It's a fun, happy feeling to surprise someone," she said.