Roughly two hot dogs, some chips, a coke, a beer and a shot of tequila later, he paid his $37 tab and left — but not before including a $16,000 tip.
“Don’t spend it all in one place,” the customer joked to the bartender, according to Mike Zarella, who owns the Stumble Inn Bar & Grill in Londonderry.
The bartender didn’t look at the check or notice the tip until the customer, who asked to remain anonymous, gave her another two hints to take a look.
“When she looked down, she was just absolutely shocked. She was like, ‘Oh, my God, no that’s just crazy,'” Zarella told CNN. “The girls went over to him and thanked him. They are overjoyed.”
The tip was left on June 12, but Zarella didn’t share the story until June 21 because he wanted to see if the payment would actually go through first. Once it did, he shared the kind act on Facebook.
About a week after the customer left the big tip, he began returning regularly, and Zarella got the chance to speak with him.
“I went over and sat with him, and I thanked him and told him, ‘Are you sure? Because we’re uncomfortable with this amount of money,'” Zarella said. “If he had made a mistake and asked for it back, we would have given it back, but he said, ‘No, I want them to have that money.'”
While the eight bartenders working the shift could have just split the tip among themselves, they decided to share it with the four staff members in the kitchen.
Many of the bartenders, some of whom are single mothers, said they would be using their shares to take summer vacations they couldn’t otherwise afford, according to Zarella.
Zarella did not keep any of the tip.
Still, because the decision was made to share the money with multiple staffers, some people criticized Stumble Inn Bar & Grill.
“We’ve been getting killed on social media lately, but pool tipping is common in certain restaurants and it works for us,” Zarella said. “It doesn’t matter how big the tip is; they still share it with everyone working that shift.
“In the end, this is just a happy story and we are grateful for his generosity.”