Friends "pay it forward" surprising unexpected server with large tip in honor of a man killed

Published: Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:42 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2012 at 5:18 AM EDT
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Cassie Smith, the waitress who received the $500.
Cassie Smith, the waitress who received the $500.
The group at the restaurant.
The group at the restaurant.
Shea Mower (source: Tammy Schindler)
Shea Mower (source: Tammy Schindler)

CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) – Friends of a Clarksville man killed in DUI crash came up with a special way to honor him.

Friends said Shea Mower brought so much joy to so many. "Just being around him, being around a person that was so giving, especially in today's age, everybody is looking to have something given to them instead of giving and he was just the opposite, he would give you the shirt off his back," said his friend Dwain Paynter.
Mower's life was cut short back in February. He was with two friends when police said the driver, who was drunk, crashed the car they were riding in. Police said the two people inside left Mower at the scene and he died at the hospital days later.
"It was very hard to take," said Tammy Schindler, friend. Instead of living in sorrow, a group of friends wanted to do something special for him on July 31st, what would have been Mower's 34th birthday.
"We're hoping to be able to celebrate his birthday today, we've raised $500 with some of his closet friends and we are going to surprise our waiter tonight," said Paynter.
The plan to pay it forward came with a lot of thought. "The majority of his tuition was paid for with tips working at a restaurant," said Paynter.
The friends decided to celebrate Mower's birthday at Outback Steakhouse in Clarksville, one of his favorite restaurants. They hoped not only to brighten someone else's day, but also spread a message. 
Server Cassie Smith had no idea what she was about to get. "Here is $500," said Schindler.
"No I can't take that," said Smith.
"It is all donated from all his friends and this is from you," said Schindler.
A special tip that more than touched this server, who has had her share of loss. "It actually kind of hit home because my mom passed away, so I kind of can relate to how it feels to lose somebody," said Smith. "So now I'll make sure and out of his memory, July 31, I'll never forget it."
This isn't the only way the friends have honored Mower. Earlier this year they gave a $500 scholarship to a Jeffersonville High School student, raising awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.