The power of goodwill and generosity can never be underestimated, especially in today’s society. And kindhearted people are definitely still out there, looking to make a difference. A maid working at a hotel in Park City, Utah, could certainly attest to that after she found a note and $500 on an unmade bed in January 2014.
Give Back Films is a hugely popular YouTube channel that posts videos showcasing incredible acts of kindness. But after the account went live on October 3, 2013, creators Kyle Oreffice and Josh Gibson perhaps couldn’t have envisioned what happened next. Indeed, after their first video, entitled “Giving $100 to Homeless People,” was published on October 15, 2013, it earned more than 9.2 million views.
And even though that clip remains Give Back Films’ most popular video, the channel has continued to grow since its inception. To date, in fact, it has more than 43 million total views and boasts more than 585,000 subscribers. However, the overall purpose behind the endeavor remains relatively simple.
“Here at Give Back Films, we have been fortunate enough to be in a better position than a lot of people in the world,” wrote Kyle on the account’s “About” page. “For that reason, we want to give back, and that is what our channel is all about! We are motivated to grow our message through aligning the passion for giving back with major organizations supporting efforts in philanthropic or service-based initiatives.”
“We put these videos on YouTube in hopes that some of you will be inspired to go out and do similar things!” Kyle added. “Pay it forward.” Kyle’s partner reiterated that message some time later, while also noting the advantages of uploading content on a platform such as YouTube.
Josh said to the Deseret News in 2014, “I think that’s our underlying goal [with] this channel: to be able to have people not only read about kind acts… I think it’s fun to be able to go to a YouTube channel and see something happening that’s good, so then it makes you feel good and it makes you feel happy.” He added, “And then it will hopefully influence you to go out and do the same thing.”
And although their debut video remains the most popular on the channel, Kyle and Josh’s second-most-watched effort was still a huge viral hit. Titled “Tipping a Hotel Cleaner $500,” the post was published on January 25, 2014, and to date it has more than 6.9 million views and over 69,000 likes.
The video opens with Kyle and Josh stating their intentions while bathed in the Utah sunshine. “Today we came across this awesome hotel cleaner, and we’re going to go tip her $500,” says the former. From there, the pair put their kindhearted plan into action, firstly speaking to the maid’s boss.
“She came in with the folks a while back, and she was looking for a place to stay,” the hotel worker tells Kyle and Josh of her colleague. “We’d just gotten rid of our maid; she’d just quit. There was a ‘for hire’ sign sitting over there on the wall, and she says, ‘What are you hiring for?’ So we thought we’d try her out.”
As the hotel worker’s story continued, though, it soon becomes clear just how special her new employee really is. “She didn’t have any money. She only had limited cash, so it kind of worked out for everybody,” the woman recalls. “She’s done a great job, an excellent job.”
The cleaner’s boss continues, “The laundry room was piled up because we just needed help, and we were full; we were running out of our towels and everything.” And that wasn’t all, she says. “Not only did she start the laundry, but she started organizing it, and she put everything in order. I went in there and just said, ‘Wow, what, wow, where did you come from?’”
The video then cuts to a shot of Josh writing a note that reads, “This is a tip! Enjoy!” From there, the duo enter a hotel room and start shaking the sheets on one of the beds. In an effort to make it look like someone had slept in it, Kyle then rolls on top of the mattress before hitting a pillow twice.
After that exertion, the pair lay out the note and the $500 on the bed, draping the sheet on top of it. Then Kyle and Josh start setting up hidden cameras around the hotel room, including one in a coffee machine. With their equipment now ready to go, they wait in their car for the maid to arrive.
And within moments of entering the room, the woman in question approaches the unmade bed and slowly pulls back the sheets to reveal her massive tip. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the maid, overcome with emotion, covers her mouth in disbelief. Then, with tears in her eyes, she picks up the money and the note and looks around the room inquisitively.
However, she appears to glimpse the camera in Kyle and Josh’s car when peering through the hotel room window. Then, moments later, the former joins the maid and confirms that the money belonged to her. “I cannot accept this, you have to take it back,” the cleaner says – but Kyle won’t take no for an answer.
And as the maid stands outside the room with Kyle and Josh, the latter confirms that her boss had given them permission to pull off their kindhearted plan. “You knew?” she says with humorous incredulity. “You freaking knew the whole time!” However, her employer responds, “You deserve it, you do a great job!”
With the joy in her eyes clear, the video ends on one last delighted sigh from the maid. And Josh would later admit that he had felt a similar sense of exhilaration at the conclusion. “I think there’s something really cool about someone being genuinely happy, and it’s exciting,” he told the Deseret News in January 2014.
“It feels good,” Josh continued. “Through watching the video, you can vicariously feel what it’s like to give to other people, and you experience a little bit of that happiness when watching the video – or hopefully, at least.”
Although Give Back Films’ last upload came on September 28, 2017, their videos remain popular. That particular post, titled “4 Days of Hurricane Harvey Relief,” has earned more than 17,000 views to date. Furthermore, their other recent efforts have also registered numbers in the thousands. This shows that Kyle and Josh’s output still resonates with an online audience.
And Kyle and Josh’s YouTube channel further displays the importance of a kind gesture. Judging by the maid from Utah’s reaction to her huge tip, she can certainly attest to that, too. But as it turns out, this discovery isn’t the only one of its kind. In fact, hotel rooms seem to be hotspots for stashing away secrets. housekeeper Brigid Murray, for instance, made a find in 2015 that left her astonished.
Hotel housekeeper Brigid Murray was going about her daily business when she uncovered a staggering surprise. She’d found a guest’s secret stash buried inside a drawer. And whoever it belonged to had no idea that it was missing.
In 2015 Tony and Betty from Ypsilanti, Michigan, were in the middle of a major move across the country. The elderly couple were relocating more than 350 miles south to the state of Kentucky. And as a result of the long distance, they had to make some stops along the way.
They enjoyed one such stopover at the Ann Arbor Regent Hotel and Suites, MI. The couple stayed there to recuperate, before continuing on their way to KY. When they departed, however, they left something very important behind.
Later that day, hotel housekeeper Brigid Murray was making her way through the rooms, ensuring that they were spick and span in anticipation of future guests. It was then that she opened a drawer and found something shocking.
In an instant, Murray knew that the bundle would have meant a lot to whoever left it behind. And thankfully she knew exactly whom those people were. It was the elderly couple in the midst of moving home. Coincidentally, she had been chatting to them that very morning.
According to Tony and Betty’s son Mark Springfield, it wasn’t until his parents reached Louisville that they realized they’d left one of their possessions behind. It was then that they rang the hotel, presumably in a frantic panic, to see if the item was still there.
But thanks to Murray, the couple’s belongings were safe and sound. After finding the item, she had taken it down to the front desk to report her discovery. And it was only then that the housekeeper realized just how valuable the object was.
The item in question was in fact Betty’s purse. As a result, Murray took it to the hotel reception so that she could note its contents with a witness. When she opened the wallet, though, she discovered what she later told WXYZ was “a lot of money.”
Just by glancing at the wad, Murray could make out a number of $100 bills. However, even then she would probably never have believed the full amount that the purse contained. Because, after counting each and every note, the housekeeper discovered a total of $11,000.
The discovery even came as a shock to Diana Hurlburt, the hotel’s director of housekeeping. While she had come across plenty of lost purses in the past, none of them had ever contained as much money as this one.
The wallet also contained an ID and a credit card. Nonetheless, it was almost certainly the cash that meant the most to the purse’s owners. As a result, it must have come as a great relief to Tony and Betty to hear that their money was safe and sound.
Soon after Murray’s discovery, Tony and Betty asked a cousin to go to the hotel and retrieve the purse. They in turn sent it on to its rightful owners. As a result, the pair no doubt counted their lucky stars to have the $11,000 returned.
According to WXYZ, Tony and Betty were carrying so much money on them because of their relocation. Firstly, they needed plenty of cash to be able to pay their mover. In addition, they also required a certain amount to help them settle in when they eventually reached their destination.
Apparently, when Betty learned that her money was safe, she cried tears of joy. And Dewayne Grann, the hotel’s general manager, could understand her relief. “Well, they knew they were missing the money, [but] they didn’t know where they were missing the money,” he told WXYZ.
To show the pair’s gratitude, Springfield later sent the hotel staff a letter on behalf of his parents. In it, he expressed his appreciation and thanked Murray for her good deed. Nonetheless, the housekeeper refused to see herself as a hero.
Speaking to WXYZ, Murray said, “I’m just glad I was able to, you know, turn it in.” Putting herself in Tony and Betty’s shoes, she added, “Can you imagine yourself? You know, you got your money. I mean, you think you have your money, until you get to your destination. Then you find you don’t even have it and don’t even remember where you left it.”
But while Murray remained modest about her actions, Hurlburt didn’t hold back in his praise of her. “Oh, she’s a wonderful employee. Excellent,” Hurlburt enthused. “I wouldn’t expect nothing less from her, because she’s just a wonderful employee.”
And Hurlburt wasn’t the only one to sing Murray’s praises. Her manager Grann also chimed in, claiming that the housekeeper personified the better side of humanity. “She is a true example of [how] the world is still a good place,” he said.
Although it was Murray who was labelled as the hero, returning the money to Tony and Betty apparently gave the whole hotel a buzz. “It’s wonderful,” Hurlburt told Mlive.com in 2015. “Finding it and returning it makes you feel so good.”
However, Murray preferred not to dwell on the past. Instead, she looked forward to the future, wishing Tony and Betty the best of luck with the new chapter in their lives. “I hope everything’s working out fine for them in their new home,” she said.