Pastor: Waffle House employees’ reaction ‘amazing’ after surprise big tip

CELINA — UPDATE @ 5:30 p.m.

Five workers at the Wapakoneta Waffle House got a big surprise from a Celina church on Christmas Eve.

The Grand Lake United Methodist Church’s lead pastor, the Rev. Mick Whistler, had each family save $1 a week during advent. During the 11 p.m. service Sunday for Christmas Eve, he surprised the congregation by telling them they’d be taking the money collected — $3,577, almost all in $1 bills — to the nearest restaurant open for Christmas. That was the Waffle House in Wapakoneta.

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“At that point, the whole congregation started clapping and everyone was excited. We were live streaming that as well, so we had folks who were home in their pajamas watching that. They got up, got dressed and got to Waffle House before we did,” he said.

The reaction of the five women workers at Waffle House “was amazing,” he said.

“One lady was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ A couple folks just broke down in tears. One girl just kind of walked away crying,” he said.

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Whistler said the point was to show how saving $1 for five weeks had hardly any affect on individual families, but together as a church they were able to make a huge difference.


Five women who work at an area Waffle House received a touching Christmas surprise from Grand Lake United Methodist Church.

Lead pastor of the church in Celina, the Rev. Mick Whistler, challenged church members to set aside $1 each week of advent, with each family bringing five $1 bills to the Christmas Eve service.

At the end of the service, Whistler took off his minister’s robes and revealed he was wearing a red server’s apron. He announced the church raised more than $3,500 and that they were going to take it to the Waffle House in Wapakoneta, where servers were unable to be home with their families.

Despite the snow and poor road conditions, church member Barb Vorhees said between 60 and 70 church members joined the caravan to the restaurant.

The five workers were amazed by the large envelope stuffed with $1 bills. “They were all very touched by it,” she said.

“The cool thing about it was none of us knew about it. It was a surprise to us, too.”

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