It was a dark, chilly Saturday night in Indianapolis, but inside the Waffle House on Lynhurst where Kassandra Rhea was waiting tables, it was bright and warm. Just three months on the job, Kassie was focused on taking orders and carrying out plates, so she barely noticed when a new customer walked in and sat in her section.
The customer happened to be Donnie Wahlberg. "I am not going to lie, I had absolutely no idea," the 21-year-old confessed to reporters from WTHR.
It wasn't until another customer pointed him out that Kassandra recognized the celeb. "She was like 'that's Donnie Wahlberg' and I was like 'awesome.' He was in town for the game and decided to do a surprise pop up at Waffle House so lucky me," she told WTHR.
Singer-actor Donnie Wahlberg is the founding member of New Kids on the Block, and has appeared in films like the Saw series, The Sixth Sense, and Dreamcatcher. Wahlberg is also a Celtics fan, and was visiting Indiana to watch his team play the Pacers with his son.
— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) November 26, 2017
Kassie told reporters from IndyStar that Wahlberg was "extremely sweet" and "very down to earth". While waiting on his table, Kassie tried to keep cool and not act star-struck. But once the actor paid his $48 check, she couldn't help but freak out when she saw the $1,000 tip.
"On a $48 check I did not think it would be that big. I almost had a heart attack, I am not going to lie. It took me completely by surprise," Rhea gushed to WTHR. Wahlberg only asked that she give $200 to the other waitress and $200 to the chef.
Generous tipping at Waffle Houses seems to be a pattern for the star. Five months ago, Wahlberg left a $2,000 tip at a Waffle House in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In an Facebook post, Wahlberg explained:
"My mom waited tables, and my dad tended bars— for years! So, when I walk into a #WaffleHouse, and the staff treats me like a king, you better believe I treat them like queens! Thanks to the team at @wafflehouseofficial Charlotte, NC! ??"
Kassie, who will celebrate her 21st birthday in a couple of weeks, says she will put her $600 tip towards rent and a new car.