‘I was speechless’: Teen cashier gets extraordinary tip from customer

A customer at an Independence Pizza Ranch felt compelled to hand $2,500 to a cashier after seeing how the 16-year-old carried himself. (Source: KCTV)
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:05 AM EDT
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV/Gray News) – The work ethic of a 16-year-old cashier at a pizza restaurant in Missouri left a strong impression with at least one customer.

Ryheem Lumpkins has been working the register at Independence Pizza Ranch for about a month. When no one is in line to pay, he’s busy sweeping floors and wiping down the buffet.

He’s usually quiet and introverted, but the job has shown him another side to his personality.

“I see new people. I get excited when I see them. I never knew I could get excited when I see people,” Lumpkins said.

Customer Robert Samay was so impressed by the teen’s attitude he gave him a $5 tip.

Tuesday, he returned to the restaurant with a surprise he hoped would make Lumpkins’ day and then some.

“I appreciate your hard work, your good smile, your good attitude. We don’t get that nowadays, especially with young kids,” Samay said to Lumpkins.

Samay’s friend pulled out a stack of $50 bills and began counting until he reached $2,500. As the number grew, Lumpkins wiped tears from his eyes.

“To be honest, I was speechless,” Lumpkins said. “I never had anything in my life that had happened to me like that before.”

It wasn’t just the money; it was the gesture that meant a lot to the teen.

“That right there showed me that there are more people in the world that really care for me,” Lumpkins said.

It wasn’t until he picked up the cash, that it became clear Lumpkins’ hands and arms were different from most. They never fully developed.

“I don’t describe it as a condition. God made me like this for a reason. I’m a regular person. I don’t think of it as a disability,” Lumpkins said. “It doesn’t prevent me from anything. If I feel like I can do it, I can do it.”

Lumpkins hopes to someday be a motivational speaker for kids like him. He wants others to feel comfortable in their own skin.

“Don’t ever hide it,” he said. “Embrace what you have different from other people. Because a lot of people think it’s cool and a lot of people wouldn’t think it’s cool. The negative words, don’t let it get to your head. Because there’s a lot of positive in the world. There’s more positive than negative.”

Lumpkins said he will be putting the money in his savings account. He’s been saving to get his first car, starting with a cleaning job last year, then this cashier job. The $2,500 will get him there sooner.