When Cayla Chandara moved to Waikiki, Hawaii, to go to college, she was ready to put money into her education so she could have a successful career.
But because student loans and other basic living costs were so expensive, she had to quit college. Cayla worked two jobs and more than 80 hours a week to make ends meet. She wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to go back to school, which made her feel uncertain.
An Australian couple sat down at one of Cayla’s tables at Noi Thai Cuisine, and what happened next would change her life forever.
As Cayla served the couple, they started talking. Cayla told them a little bit about her life.
“They asked me where I was from, and I told them I moved here for school, but I was in a little bit of debt and couldn’t go back because I couldn’t afford it and the cost of living here,” Cayla said.
She didn’t think much of it, but when Cayla looked at the couple’s bill later that night, she couldn’t believe what she saw: they had left her a $400 tip on their $200 bill!
“I just thought it was so kind of them,” she said. “I never get tipped that big. I had to say thank you.”
Cayla remembered that the couple had mentioned the name of the hotel where they were staying, so after work she ran to the store to get a thank-you card, flowers, and some desserts to send to their room.
She thought that was the end of it, but the couple returned to the restaurant the next day, and what they did next left Cayla speechless.
They told her that they wanted to pay off her student loan debt and pay for the rest of her education. This would be a gift of more than $10,000!
“I said, “No way, you don’t have to do that for me. “I just wanted to say thanks,” Cayla said, but they insisted.
“I still don’t feel like it’s real,” she continued. “I want to run around the streets.”
Cayla knew she could never repay the couple, but all they asked was that she be the best version of herself, dream big, and work hard to achieve her goals. And Cayla intends to do just that.
“I want to make them proud,” she said. “I’ll take this chance with an open mind and try to be a better person every day.”