The mystery man in Utah who left a $1,500 tip for his Denny's waitress -- a single mom -- stepped forward, saying: “Family is everything.”

Briggs VanNess also paid the tabs for seven families at the restaurant. He told FOX26 the donations stemmed from his own troubles in life.

“I grew up with a single mother of six – we were poor and homeless a lot,” VanNess said. “I’d spend many nights at my mother’s friends’ houses; my mother was dying from cancer but somehow managed to survive. But I watched and suffered for years as I watched her work her hands to the bone to give us a good life. She raised us to be kind and help others.”

VanNess said as he grew older he got in trouble with the law and his behavior led him to “lose my family,” but he turned his life around and now wanted to give back to others.

So he strolled into a Denny’s last week, asked for a waitress who was a single mom, and paid strangers’ bills for hours on end, spending about $1,000. VanNess’ check came to just over $21, according to the waitress, Crystal, in a post on Love What Matters. But he still tipped $1,500 – or about 7,100 percent.

“Many years of fighting my demons, I finally found the light,” VanNess said. “Now I’ve been helping others as I was raised to do. I spent many years becoming a better person. And now it’s time to pay it back.”