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Single mother from Detroit receives $2020 tip on $23 bill ahead of new year

Posted: 10:22 PM, Dec 31, 2019
Updated: 2020-01-01 08:44:14-05

(WXYZ) — A single mother from Detroit moved Up North to start a new life got a life-altering gift for the new year.

“I’m going to build a future because of this. My kids have a future and I have a home,” says Danielle Franzoni. “It’s a big deal. It’s a really big deal”

Franzoni says her life changed this week when she received a big tip while waitressing at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena. The tab? $23. The tip? $2020.

“I had actually woke up at 4 o’clock that morning to my neighbor’s house being engulfed in flames. So I was emotional.” Franzoni says. “They wrote on the receipt Happy New Year Danielle 2020 challenge. I cried. I started crying and went right to my manager and asked if this was real. I’m still in complete shock. That doesn’t happen to people like me. I’m a recovering addict and I’m a Detroit native, born and raised. I moved up here to Alpena to start over and get sober.”

The single mother of three kids with a daughter on the way is now two years sober from opioids and says, when she made the move in the last year, she had nothing but the clothes on her back, so she ended up in a homeless shelter before landing a job at the restaurant.

The two regulars who left the tip are likely unaware of the full gravity of their gift - a second chance.

“it’s a blessing. I’m trying to bring my kids home. I’m trying to do right and I’m a server. I don’t make great money you know and uh its uh, I moved into my own house today. That was able to happen. I did that today,” Franzoni says.” They gave my kids a life that they don’t even know that they didn’t have. And I have a chance.”

Danielle is also going to be able to get her driver’s license now for the first time in 10 years. That will allow her to see all of her kids and teach her daughter to drive next year.

And she says she never got the chance to thank the two responsible and hopes they know that they’ve helped change her life’s trajectory heading into the new year.