Bethany Provencher, 37, got the surprise of a lifetime after Donnie Wahlberg and his wife Jenna McCarthy dined at the IHOP outlet.
It isn't unusual for one of the Wahlbergs to light a big smile on a friendly face. Donnie Wahlberg kicked off his 2020 by making someone's new year extra special. On New Year's Day, the star of the Blue Bloods stopped in for a meal with his wife Jenny McCarthy at an IHOP outlet near their St. Charles, III home. When they left, their server saw an unbelievable $2,020 tip for a $75.45 bill on the table they had dined on.
“@donniewahlberg starting 2020 off like the amazing man he is,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter, along with a photo of their credit card receipt—which included Wahlberg’s handwritten “Thanks Bethany,” “2020 Tip Challenge” and “Happy new year” notes.
(The “2020 Tip Challenge” appears to be a reference to a generous tipping trend that started in Michigan, when a server at Thunder Bay River Restaurant received a $2,020 tip on a $23 bill.)
“I’ve loved Donnie my whole life—I was a very big New Kids on the Block fan when I was a kid,” Bethany Provencher, the IHOP server who received the tip, told People in an interview. “I didn’t want to freak out at the table, so I went into the bathroom and freaked out a little. I was like, ‘oh my god!'”
“I served them the best I could do,” she says. “He folded up the receipt and he gave it to me, and told me not to open it until he left. I said ‘okay, thank you, guys, come again. I’ll take care of you again.’ Then I open it, and I almost fell to the floor.”
We took out our son and his buddies for breakfast.— Jenny McC-Wahlberg (@JennyMcCarthy) 3 January 2020
Provencher, who is 37-years-old, said that she was immediately overwhelmed by this amazing gesture. “I just started crying. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, who does that? It was a blessing,” she says. “I just moved into an apartment, I’m a single mother—by myself with my son. So I struggle every day to make ends meet. And now I can buy furniture and put some money in the bank, and make sure my son is good.”
Y’all inspired us today at lunch! We couldn’t do $2020 but I still hope this made her day! Happy new year! pic.twitter.com/dAZU0fTSTb— sunnyannebright (@sunnyannebright) 2 January 2020
Though she had been a server for 25 years, that wasn't the end to her pleasant surprises. Not long after the couple's visit to the IHOP, Provencher received a special phone call from Wahlberg. Donnie called me at the restaurant and I spoke to him. I really wanted to thank him and Jenny because they don’t even understand what they did for me,” she says. “God put him there for a reason for me, and I know that,” she says. “It’s the greatest thing to ever happen in my life.”
This isn’t the first time Wahlberg has left behind hefty tips for his restaurant servers. People reported that back in 2017, the 'New Kids on the Block' singer left $500 for Waffle House employees working the night shift in Maryland, and also gifted a $2,000 tip (and front row concert tickets and backstage passes) for Waffle House servers in Charlotte, N.C.