LISBON, N.D. – A chance meeting at Lisbon's First and Last Chance Bar has Shiela Weisgerber smiling.
Weisgerber, who is raising triplet grandsons Dalton, Bentley and Ashton Peterson, received a $300 tip from a couple who overheard her talking about the boys with some regular customers, and then chatted with her about them.
It was nearly midnight Saturday, April 30, when the couple paid their bill and left it upside down on the bar. Weisgerber said. When she cleared their glasses and took the slip to the till, she was floored.
There, for a $33 bill, was a $300 tip and the message, "Take care of those boys!!" printed beneath.
"You read about it. You hear about it. .... It really shocked me. I went to the bathroom and I cried. I was really surprised," Weisgerber said.
Bar owner Dave Cole Jr. said it was a beautiful gift for Weisgerber, and for the town. too.
"It's fantastic. Anytime we can do some good in the world in general," Cole said. "The last few months have been really hard with random deaths around here. We really needed a boost. This was a godsend. Literally, it made everybody brighten up. ... You know that there still is good left."
Weisgerber, 48, has three grown daughters, Courtnee Marchetti, 30, Stephanie (Peterson) DeWolf, 28, and Emily Scott, 26.
The triplets were born to Stephanie, but she already had a child and felt she couldn't take care of three more, Weisgerber said.
So, Weisgerber took on the role of parent again when the boys were 2 months old.
Getting through the bottle feedings and diaper changings was tough, she said.
But the payoff has been pure joy.
"I love children and it wasn't in my cards to have more," she said. "And now I've been blessed to raise the boys. If I was asked to do it over again. I would. These little guys are a true blessing."
There has recently been sadness, too.
The boys' father, Joshua Ertelt, died in a car crash in late February, Weisgerber said.
Weisgerber has worked full time at the bar since October.
Early Sunday, May 1, she posted a photo of the bar tab, with the big tip and message of encouragement, on Facebook.
"You only read about things like this happening. ... So grateful," Weisgerber wrote.
When the boys' father died, Weisgerber opened a savings account for each of them. Each boy will now get $100 from that tip.
She said if she ever sees the couple again, she'll give them a big hug.
"Words can't describe how grateful I am. You know there's good out there. It helps, and it will help the boys later."
By Helmut Schmidt on May 2, 2016 at 7:48 p.m. www.in-forum.com