It had been a long and eventful weekend. Rosalynd Harris was back at work after witnessing President Trump’s inauguration and protesting in the subsequent Women’s March. And with emotions running high, Harris was no doubt skeptical when some pro-Trump customers left the waitress a note. However, it turned out to be one of the most sincere gestures she’d ever received.
At the time of President Trump’s inauguration, Rosalynd Harris was working as a waitress at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. The 25-year-old had been working at the venue since mid 2015, and the wages she earned helped to support her other career as a professional dancer.
Busboys and Poets, meanwhile, is a liberal meeting point in the U.S. capital. The restaurant has a mission to inspire social change, and it uses arts and culture to make meaningful connections between different races and cultures. The owners have even had former President Barack Obama through their doors.
As a result of the eatery’s ethos, Harris usually serves quite liberal customers. However, that all changed over the inauguration weekend. That’s because supporters of both political parties had descended on Washington, and, in turn, the café, in their droves.
Needless to say, President Trump’s rhetoric and policies have proved to be divisive in the U.S. and further afield. Nevertheless, the business tycoon’s inauguration attracted thousands of supporters from across the country. However, so did a Women’s March that took place the following day.
On January 21, 2017, women from across the globe marched in solidarity as they protested envisioned threats to women’s rights. Alongside the main event in Washington, there were also “Sister Marches” held in NYC, Los Angeles and Chicago. Other protests took place as far afield as London and Antarctica.
And, although President Trump’s inauguration weekend had naturally stirred all kinds of emotions, the protests had been largely peaceful. In fact, when Harris returned to work the morning after participating in the Women’s March, she was in high spirits.
So, when the African American waitress spotted three Trump supporters enter the restaurant, she didn’t bat an eyelid. Even the fact that one was wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap couldn’t spoil her mood. Instead, Harris greeted them with a warm smile and some friendly chit-chat.
Among the group was dentist Jason White. He suspected that the young waitress may have felt strange about the three Trump supporters in front of her, so he decided to break the ice. So, White complimented Harris’ beautiful smile and explained that he’d traveled from West Texas to see the new leader sworn in.
However, although Harris looked completely relaxed on the face of things, she admitted she had made judgments about the men. Just by looking at them, in fact, she assumed they were pro-Trump. “I could tell they were from the South because they had their cowboy hats on, and I was like, ‘Oh, you’re not from the city,’” she told WUSA-TV in January 2017.
Nevertheless, the service went well, and the men happily polished off their meals. In fact, White in particular was so happy with his experience that he left Harris a note. And what he wrote would bring tears to her eyes.
“We may come from different cultures and may disagree on certain issues, but if everyone would share their smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people,” the kind message read. “Not race. Not gender. Just American,” White wrote, before simply adding, “God Bless!”
And the dentist’s charity didn’t end there, as he also added an eye-wateringly generous $450 tip. The number was a nod to Trump and the fact that he was now the 45th President of the United States. Needless to say, Harris was left speechless by the generous gesture.
“You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you,” Harris told the The Washington Post in January 2017. “But [White] was more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange.”
“Never judge a book by its cover and always be open with people to experience something miraculous like that,” she added in the interview with WUSA-TV. “We may have different opinions and disagree on different issues, but the fact that he still looked at me as an equal and someone of value, it said something, like, ‘Okay, not all hope is lost.’”
And White agreed that it was now time for Americans to try and put their differences aside. “As I sat there I thought about the entire weekend, and I thought I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me, but if most Americans have a preconceived perception about people then we’re never going to get better,” he explained to the The Washington Post.
Amazingly, modest White didn’t mention the note or the tip to his dining buddies. However, the scenes he’d witnessed in Washington had touched him so much that he was moved to make the gesture. And, in addition, he was now hopeful about the country’s future.
“We have to think about being better Americans, we have to look into ourselves and how we treat one another,” he told The Washington Post. “If everyone did a little something to show respect… we can love one another.”
Harris plans to use her kind tip to help her move apartment. Prior to receiving the money, she had signed up for a number of extra shifts at the restaurant; now, though, she doesn’t have to worry. “[It’s] a huge weight off my shoulders,” she admitted to The Washington Post.
So, while there’s no doubt that there’s still some time to go until all wounds have healed, White’s kind gesture is hopeful that things will get better. And, it serves as a helpful reminder that, as humans, we have more things in common than differences.