TIME Food & Drink

Waffle House Doesn’t Let Customer Leave $1,000 Tip for Single Mom Waitress

Tips of that amount must be paid in cash or check

A Waffle House policy has come under scrutiny after a customer could not put a $1,500 tip on his credit card bill at a Raleigh location, ABC 11 and News & Observer report.

Around 3:00 a.m. on Mother’s Day, this Good Samaritan told Shania Brown, a single mother of three who works the night shift, to keep the $1,000 for herself and give the $500 to another woman in the restaurant at the time.

However, Waffle House policy does not allow customers to leave super-sized tips that way in case they change their minds, so they are refunded, and Good Samaritans have to leave them in cash or write a check, a Waffle House spokesperson told News & Observer. After going back and forth with management, Brown got a call from the mysterious customer last week, who told ABC 11 and News & Observer that he is a local businessman who wants to remain anonymous. He wrote her a check for the $1,000.

As a News & Observer columnist wrote, “You don’t put up roadblocks to charity. You don’t make it hard for people to be nice.”


Ford and Heinz Consider Making Cars That Run on Ketchup

Another use for ketchup besides slathering it on every food ever

Ford and Heinz announced today that their researchers have teamed up to explore making car parts from the tomato by-product that is leftover from ketchup production. If dried tomato skins are durable enough, then they could be used to make wiring brackets or the bins that hold change and other personal objects.

Tomato fiber pellets Ford

The companies claim that the idea — which boasts the kitschy tagline “You Say Tomato; We Say Tom-Auto” — is part of an effort to look into developing “sustainable bio-plastic material for vehicles” that could “reduce the use of petrochemicals in manufacturing and reduce the impact of vehicles on the environment,” according to a news release.

Research on this ketchup car concept is in the very early stages, so no word on whether drivers would get fries with that.

MORE: Finally, You Can Wrap Your Ford in Bacon

TIME Family

This Iggy Azalea Parody Will Remind You That Being Pregnant Is Anything But Fancy

You already know.

First a dad and daughter lip-sync to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” in the car goes viral. Now moms want to get in on the fun.

“I’m So Pregnant” boasts more than 1 million views on the YouTube channel What’s Up Moms?. The refrain: “I’m so pregnant, you already know. I’m in the last month. I can’t even see my toes. I’m so pregnant. Can’t get in any clothes. Don’t ask me the name, I don’t know.”

Is this the new Mozart effect?

WATCH: Rapper Iggy Azalea On Her Worst Job Ever

LISTEN: Iggy Azalea Mashed Up With Reba McEntire Is Your New Summer Jam

TIME relationships

Here’s an Amazing Photo of a Couple Marrying as a Wildfire Rages On

In this Saturday, June 7, 2014, photo provided by Josh Newton, newlyweds Michael Wolber and April Hartley pose for a picture near Bend, Ore., as a wildfire burns in the background. Josh Newton / AP

The finale of Modern Family come to life

A brush fire turned wildfire cut an Oregon wedding ceremony short Saturday afternoon, but not before the Aloha pair got to say “I do.”

A fire truck rolled up to Rock Spring Ranch near Bend, and guests of Michael Wolber and April Hartley were told to evacuate. The minister conducted an abbreviated ceremony before the wedding party was moved to Drake Park in Bend.

Wedding photographer Josh Newton posted the above photo on Facebook Sunday, and since then, it has racked up more than 88,000 likes and 8,400 shares.

“It was like a movie,” Wolber told The Oregonian.

Actually, it was like a TV show. In the season 5 finale of Modern Family, which aired last month, the same-sex wedding between Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) had to be relocated before the ceremony even began because a wildfire got too close — not to mention the minister’s water broke.

TIME viral

WATCH: Firefighter Fakes House Fire to Propose to His Police Officer Girlfriend

A fiery proposal indeed

Video of a Houston firefighter faking a house fire so he could propose to his girlfriend, a police officer, is heating up the web.

Around the 5-minute mark of the clip, Bruno Mars’s “Marry You” starts to play as smoke seeps out of the garage door of the house, and fireman Jesse Gonzalez emerges. He walks down the driveway towards his girlfriend, Olga Peck, who works for the Houston Police Department. Then he dropped to one knee and popped the question. She said yes.

A Houston Fire Department spokesperson told ABC News that firefighters were still on duty the whole time, listening to their radios and ready to head to the nearest fire at a moment’s notice.

TIME nation

School Aide Tricked 4th Graders into Eating Pet Treats

Getty Images

No injuries have been reported

An aide at a Pennsylvania school has been put on leave for giving fourth graders pet treats and saying they were cookies, the Associated Press reports via WFMZ.

They were given to approximately 75 fourth graders at New Hanover-Upper Frederick Elementary School last week during recess. Gabriel Moore, a student who ate three of them, told WFMZ that the aide told them they were dog treats at first, but then said they were cookies and totally acceptable to eat.

In an advisory to parents, the superintendent did not say what kind of treat the students were given, but said they would not be dangerous to eat.

TIME Appreciation

Students Raise Money for Janitor So He Can Visit His Family Overseas

Ricky Spaulding will use the money to visit his son who is stationed in Italy

Kentucky students with big hearts raised nearly $2,000 so a school janitor could visit his family overseas, Lex18.com reports.

At Anderson County High School, about 30 miles west of Lexington, janitor Ricky Spaulding was called to mop up a spill in the gym and walked right into a pep rally being hosted in his honor. He was given a trash can filled with cash that he and his wife will use to visit their son, who is stationed in Italy, so they can meet their grandson for the first time.

TIME Food & Drink

Donut Anthropologist Answers All of Your Burning Donut Questions

Getty Images

Mmm donuts...

June 6 is National Doughnut Day, the day when Krispy Kreme gives away donuts, and artisan shops debut a new wacky creation like “zombie donuts” with cheddar larvae. In honor of this holiday for donut lovers, we talked about the history of the pastry and the state of the donut with Paul R. Mullins, Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and author of Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut, which explores the pastry as a way to look at the evolution of American consumer culture.

Is it correct to say that the modern donut has Dutch origins?

Every cuisine has fried flour in one form or another, so finding the origin of the donut is simply infeasible. In the United States, the first time the word is used is in reference to a Dutch pastry. I think what you and I call the donut — fried flour with raised yeast and a hole in the center — has its strongest ethnic roots in the olykoek (oily cake).

How did it get a hole?

Nobody has a good answer. You’re much less likely to have a donut cook unevenly when a hole is poked in the middle — that is by far the most logical answer. There were donut shops in the 20th century that spun narratives, but they were just folk tales that were made up to sell donuts. None of the cookbooks into the third or fourth quarter of the 19th century say you should make a donut by placing a hole in the center. So somebody just hit on that and realized it was a good idea.

How did the donut become known as a distinctly American food?

In the early 19th century, donuts appear in American food chapters of English cookbooks from 1810 or thereabouts. So there’s a claim to be made that at least one version of fried pastry is ours from the outset. By the time the Salvation Army’s “Doughnut Girls” were distributing donuts in the trenches during World War I, it was already a familiar smell. The soldiers argue the reason they went to have donuts is because they would literally smell them and were reminded of home. They represent mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and a sort of feminism and nationalism has been projected onto donuts.

Do you think there’s been a growth in artisanal donut shops since your book came out?

Definitely, that’s the next frontier. There’s a ton of bourgeois donuts appealing to foodies that have emerged in metropolises — Chicago, New York City, San Francisco.

Like the cronut.

Yes, the artisan donut is targeting the same consumers who want to buy local and from a trained chef who’s using distinctive, local ingredients to make the consumer feel smarter. And there’s a bit of class theater to it, as opposed to going to Krispy Kreme, where I don’t really know where its flour came from and don’t care. But to sell artisan donuts, you have to be somewhere with a lot of foodies. It’s a sales pitch that just doesn’t work well in smaller markets.

What’s the most influential donut in pop culture?

In pop culture, the donut symbolism begins and ends with Homer Simpson. I suspect he made consumers more receptive to eating donuts because he does what we want to do — owns up to his bodily desires and doesn’t care if he’s carrying a little extra luggage in the center. But we’ve been disciplined to look at donuts as being bad foods, and Homer almost makes them not seem so bad.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned during your research?

The donut marketplace is incredibly stable, that’s one of the big threads you can take out of looking at donuts over better than a century of mass marketing. During times of economic stress, we’ll cut cable channels, give up HBO if we have to, but it’s rare to give up food, inexpensive treats. That’s just not going to happen.

Do you have a favorite donut?

There’s a donut shop here in Indianapolis called Long’s Bakery, and its stock-in-trade is the standard glazed donut. I’m also willing to try anything that’s filled with vanilla cream.

TIME animals

7 of the Cutest Chubby Pets

A few of our favorite hefty pets who have gone viral

Top UK veterinary charity PDSA announced the dogs, cats, and rabbits that are finalists for its 2014 weight-loss competition, which is supposed to raise awareness about pet obesity. Below, NewsFeed rounds-up the fat cats and pudgy pooches that have gone viral throughout the years.



  • This 39-Pound Cat Ate Hog Dogs

    NBCUniversal Media / Getty Images

    The hot dog-eating cat that wound up in a Santa Fe shelter was “interviewed” by Anderson Cooper and the TODAY anchors. It passed away from lung failure on May 7, 2012.

  • The Garfield That Can’t Eat Lasagna

    Janet Ciminelli of North Shore Animal League of America holds Garfield at Long Island on June 4, 2012 in New York City. Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft USA / Barcoft Media / Getty Images

    This 40-pound cat went viral in 2012 when it was at a Long Island shelter. For exercise, it would get picked up by someone, moved to another spot, and the feline would have to walk back.

  • SpongeBob Can’t-Fit-Into SquarePants

    Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft USA /Barcoft Media / Getty Images

    This 33-pound feline chased lasers for exercise. In August 2012, about two months after it was adopted, it passed away after a large mass was found around its heart.

  • The Pet Version of The Biggest Loser

    CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

    New York City “dog guru” Justin Silver helped Rosie, an obese Bernese Mountain Dog, start a weight-loss regiment on Dogs in the City, a CBS reality show about what it’s like to be a dog in The Big Apple.

  • The 131-Pound Lab

    Alfie, the labrador is pictured at 59.5kg at the Leybourne Animal Centre in Kent, England, Nov. 1, 2006 Barcroft Media /Barcoft Media via Getty Images

    This dog weighed more than 170 pounds when it was rescued because his previous owner fed him every time he barked.

  • The 187-Pound Black Lab

    Sampson, the 187-pound labrador, at the Animal Aid vet in Yarra Glen, Victoria, June 21, 2011. Mike Keating / Newspix / Getty Images

    Too many leftover pizza, pasta, and scraps from roasts explain why this Australian dog named Sampson was called a “lardy labrador” with a frame “the size of a small heifer” when he went viral in 2011.

  • Tiddles

    Chris Moorhouse / Evening Standard / Getty Images

    During the 1970s, this tabby was known as the only male allowed in the ladies room at Paddington Station.

TIME politics

10 Things You Might Not Know About Ronald Reagan

Did you know jelly beans helped him kick a bad habit and that he couldn't resist feeding the squirrels outside of the White House?

Republican President Ronald Reagan died 10 years ago today at 93. Below are some facts you may not know about the late Hollywood actor-turned-statesman.

• While running for California Governor in 1966, he started eating jelly beans to kick his smoking habit. Licorice was his favorite flavor. There would be a crystal jar of them on the table at Cabinet meetings.

NBC / NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images

• He liked to feed the squirrels outside of the Oval Office. In George H.W. Bush’s eulogy for Reagan, he said that on the 40th president’s last day in the White House, he left a sign on the Oval Office door addressed to the squirrels that said “Beware of the dog” because “our dog Millie came in and beat the heck out of the squirrels.”

• When he declared May 1983 National Amateur Baseball Month, he said he loved baseball so much, “I wouldn’t even complain if a stray ball came through the Oval Office window now and then.”

• Nancy Reagan published I Love You, Ronnie, a collection of love letters that he wrote to her from the 1950s to the 1990s. Among the writings, one dated 1956 is addressed to “Nancy Poo Pants,” while one dated Mar. 4, 1971, is signed “Your In Luv Guv.” Valentine’s Day, he wrote in 1960, is for people of “ordinary luck,” boasting that he had a “Valentine life.”

• She also wrote in her memoir that he was fed so many brussels sprouts during a trip to England that he swore them off for the rest of his life.

• He was known for writing personal checks (sometimes $4,000 or $5,000) to citizens who wrote to him about their money problems. “Reagan was famous for firing up air force jets on behalf of children who needed transport for kidney operations,” Frank J. Kelly, who wrote presidential messages, said in Ronald Kessler’s book In The President’s Secret Service.

• The day before the Group 7 summit meeting in 1983, White House Chief of Staff James Baker dropped off a briefing book and was furious the next day when he noticed it hadn’t been touched, prompting Reagan to joke, “Well, Jim, The Sound of Music was on last night.”

• He nominated the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, who served from 1986 to 2001.

• His nickname “The Gipper” comes from his role as Notre Dame football player George Gipp in the 1940 movie about the school’s legendary football coach, Knute Rockne All American.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

• His role in Bedtime for Bonzo as an anthropologist raising a chimp like a child — sleeping with it and nursing it — became a cult hit, especially after he won the 1980 presidential election. He once said he wouldn’t do the sequel Bonzo Goes to College (1952) because “Who could believe a chimp could go to college and play on the college team?”

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