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QUINCY, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- It was the tip of a lifetime for Chicago waitress and mother of two Colleen Gallagher.

Feeling blue in the midst of a dull shift at the Windy City’s swank Excalibur Club, Gallagher’s fortunes took a sudden turn for the better when John Boc, chief executive of Meridian Investments Inc., told her to give herself a $1,000 tip on the first round of drinks he bought for himself and some partners.

Boc made the offer after a chat with Gallagher in which she told about struggling to make ends meet and provide for her two sons with no help from their father, according to an account in the Boston Herald Thursday that was confirmed by a Meridian official.

After drawing tears of gratitude from Gallagher with his four-figure tip, Boc pulled out a thick wad of credit cards and held them out toward Gallagher fanned like a hand of playing cards.

"Pick a card," he told the stunned waitress.

"I reached in and picked one. It was a platinum Visa and he said, ’take that card and go give yourself $10,000"’ she told the Herald.

"Life’s too short to be feeling blue," Gallagher said the executive told her.

Boc, who co-founded Quincy, Massachusetts-based Meridian in 1983, is known for his...

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