'Blue Bloods' Star Donnie Wahlberg Overwhelms IHOP Waitress With $2,020 Tip to Kick off 2020

One lucky Illinois IHOP waitress who served Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg and wife Jenny McCarthy on Wednesday now has firsthand knowledge of how generous the New Kids on the Block singer is. The actor left their serve a $2,020 tip for a $75.45 bill. The server, Bethany Provencher, said she is a big NKOB fan and "freaked out a little" after seeing Whalberg's receipt.

McCarthy tweeted a picture of the receipt, which showed $2,020 written on the tip line and $2,098.45 written on the total line. "Thanks Bethany," Wahlberg wrote on the top. He added "Happy New Year" and "2020 tip challenge" at the bottom.

"[Wahlberg] starting 2020 off like the amazing man he is," McCarthy wrote, adding the hashtag "2020 tip challenge."

"I’ve loved Donnie my whole life—I was a very big New Kids on the Block fan when I was a kid," Provencher, 37, told PEOPLE. "I didn't want to freak out at the table, so I went into the bathroom and freaked out a little. I was like, 'oh my god!'"

Provencher, a single mother with one son, said she served the couple "the best I could do." Wahlberg then presented her with the receipt folded, and asked him to not open it until after he left.

"I said 'okay, thank you, guys, come again. I'll take care of you again,'" Provencher explained. "Then I open it, and I almost fell to the floor."

"I just started crying," Provencher continued. "I couldn't believe it. I mean, who does that? It was a blessing. I just moved into an apartment, I’m a single mother—by myself with my son. So I struggle every day to make ends meet. And now I can buy furniture and put some money in the bank, and make sure my son is good."

Afterward, Wahlberg called the IHOP near his St. Charles, Illinois home and spoke with Provencher.

"I really wanted to thank him and Jenny because they don’t even understand what they did for me," she told PEOPLE. "God put him there for a reason for me, and I know that... It's the greatest thing to ever happen in my life."

Wahlberg has a history of leaving big tips at restaurants. In 2017, he dropped a $2,000 tip at a Charlotte Waffle House and gave employees there front row seats to a NKOB show.

Wahlberg also recently took part in Target's Heroes & Helpers program, which helps thousands of underserved kids shop during the holiday season with the help of local public safety agencies.

"They've probably given away $5 million in Christmas gifts to children who really could use the gifts and it's just something that, for me, growing up in an underserved community and an underserved household with nine kids who didn't always have an assurance that we'd have a roof over our heads, to be part of something like this — I don't really feel like I'm donating myself to it. I feel honored to be associated with it to be frank," Wahlberg told PopCulture.com.


Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

Photo credit: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images