When Cayla Chandara moved to Waikiki, Hawaii, to attend college, she was ready to invest in her education, studying in order to have a prosperous career.
However with the high costs of student loans and other basic living expenses, she had to drop out of college. Cayla worked over 80 hours each week, managing two jobs just to survive. Feeling doubtful, she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to go back to school.
Suddenly, in what some would call a miracle, 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 struck up a conversation. Cayla shared with them a little of her story.
“They asked me where I was from, and I told them I moved here for school but I was kind of in a little bit of debt and I couldn’t go back to school because I couldn’t afford it and the cost of living here,” Cayla said.
She didn’t think anything of it, but when Cayla looked at the couple’s check later that night, she couldn’t believe her eyes – they had left her a $400 tip on their $200 bill!
“I just thought it was so generous of them,” she said. “I never get tipped that big. I had to say thank you.” Cayla remembered the couple mentioning 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 be sent to their room.She thought that would be the end of it, but the next day the couple walked back into the restaurant, and what they did next left Cayla stunned.
They told her they wanted to pay off her student loan debt and pay for the rest of her education – a gift of more than $10,000! “I was like, ‘No way, you don’t have to do that for me. I just wanted to say thank you,’” Cayla said, but they insisted.
“I still don’t feel like it’s real,” she added. “I want to run around in the streets.” Cayla knew there was no way she could ever repay this generous couple, but they asked for only one thing in return: “be your best possible self, dream big, and strive for your goals.” And Cayla plans to do just that.
“I want to make them proud,” she said. “I will take this opportunity with an open heart and be a better person that I can be every day.”