Anonymous Donor Leaves $16,000 Tip for Restaurant Suffering COVID Repercussions

(Unsplash/Sam Dan Truong)

A Londonderry, New Hampshire, restaurant that suffered like many businesses under the strain of COVID-19 received an incredibly generous tip this week.

A customer came into the Stumble Inn Bar and Grill and ordered a couple of chili dogs, fried pickle chips and drinks totaling $37.93 with tax.

As he gave the signed receipt to the waitress, the anonymous donor commended their hard work, saying, "Don't spend it all in one place."

The man had to repeat himself three times before the waitress realized what his comment meant, according to WMUR 9.

Finally, "that's what made her flip it over," owner Mike Zarella told the news station. "I want you to have it, you guys work hard," the man told her.

Speaking with the eight bartenders on duty, Zarella was convinced it had to be a mistake, and insisted that a few extra zeros were added.

"I thought it was a mistake, it could have been maybe a $160 tip and he added extra zeros," Zarella said. "The bar manager talked to the gentleman and he said, 'No, it's $16,000.'"

The tip was split between the bartenders that worked the June 12 shift. Zarella said the generosity would be spread to the entire staff, including those in the back of the house and the kitchen.

"I've spoken with him," Zarella said, adding that he thanked the customer and—again— confirmed "it was his intention" to leave so much money for his employees.

The patron, Zarella said, was not one of the regular customers who supported the restaurant when it adjusted to serving only take-out while in-person seating was closed during the pandemic. He had only started coming in "a month ago," Zarella explained. The restaurant had reopened May 18. The manager said he has seen the patron visit a few times since his grand display of generosity.

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