By Laura Phillips

DENVER (CBS4) – In a time when many restaurants and servers are struggling to survive, the “Venmo Challenge” is coming to the rescue. This week Instagram influencer Jessi Jean asked her 147,000 Instagram followers to donate to her Venmo account so they could surprise a local server in Denver.

“This year has been hard for so many of us,” Jean said, “and I thought this is one way I could use my platform to give back and to create community amongst each other and to bless the lives of people who are being impacted in a big way.”

(credit: Jessi Jean)

They raised $2,815 in 24 hours, which she rounded up to $3,000. Jean and her friends went to Esters and ate in the outdoor dining area of one of the restaurant’s two locations in the Mile High City.

“I feel like God led us to the right spot our waiter is literally amazing. His energy is the best and he’s such a kind soul,” Jean said.
At the end of the meal she asked their server, Gary, if he’d heard of the Venmo Challenge and he had not. That’s when she pulled out an envelope of cash and handed Gary $1,500. He dropped to his knees in shock and gratitude.

(credit: Jessi Jean)

“I don’t what to say,” Gary said.

“You don’t have to say anything,” Jean responded.

Then they called out the remaining restaurant staff, which was a cook and host, and divided up the remaining $1,500.

Afterward Jean said “My heart is literally beating out of my chest. It was amazing.”

You can watch the entire story in a post on her Instagram Page.

The Venmo Challenge reportedly started this spring with TikTok user Lexy Burke.

Laura Phillips