$1,000 tip from strangers helps struggling Valley mom Danielle Thomas

AHWATUKEE, AZ - A random act of kindness helped single-mom Danielle Thomas when she was hit with a nearly $1,000 fine from the Department of Economic Services (DES).

Danielle is a server at Ruffinos in Ahwatukee.

Around Easter time, she waited on a husband and wife who changed her life. They gave her $1,000 to pay off an overcharge fee from the DES.

A few years ago, Danielle’s son was diagnosed with a serious medical condition. She chose to quit her daytime job to spend time at home with her son.

“I didn’t know how I was going to pay rent but I was like, 'Am I going to sacrifice my son?'” said Danielle.

Medical bills were too expensive, so Danielle signed up for government assistance and qualified for unemployment benefits and nutritional assistance.             

However, over the next few months, Danielle picked up work.            

“The hardest day was walking into that office, and I sat there thinking 'I know I am a strong woman, I shouldn't need this,'” said Danielle. “I literally just sat there crying.”

In the meantime, Danielle landed a job as a server.

“I notified DES and two months later I accepted another position and I notified DES,” said Danielle.

Danielle says the information wasn’t entered into the system. This past April, she received a letter from DES stating she owed almost $1,000.

Danielle tried to appeal the bill, but said she couldn’t get anyone to listen.

When she told the couple in her restaurant about the situation, “The gentleman just took out his credit card and he was like 'I’m going to give you $1,000,'” said Danielle.

“I was like is this really happening? The woman grabbed my hand and just said 'Happy Easter,'” said Danielle.




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