A struggling New Jersey restaurant owner hampered by the coronavirus was moved to tears when a regular customer left a $1,000 tip on an order.
Arnold Teixiera, the owner of The Starving Artist in Ocean Grove, said the customer had patronized the restaurant since 2001. Still, he did not want to reveal the customer’s identity, CNN reported. Teixeira said:
The customer and his family ate their meal and left without saying a word. When the waiter serving them saw the tip, she just started crying. Then another one of my staff members saw it and started crying, too. And then I see it, and I couldn’t help but cry. It was just extremely emotional because it’s been a really difficult time for us.
The customer was having breakfast last week at the restaurant, which just celebrated 21 years of being in business, when he left a massive tip and a kind note.
“Thank you so much for working through this tough time,” the note read.
“We are grateful for your delicious food, warm smiles, and great atmosphere… Please know we appreciate you all very much. It wouldn’t be a good summer without the Starving Artist,” the tipper added.
The customer asked at the end of the note to divide the tip among the entire staff. Teixiera split the tip between his seven staff members, excluding himself.
The longtime restaurant owner said he was not even sure he was going to keep his doors open after the coronavirus forced him to close in March.
“Things just kept getting worse. It got to the point where I was preparing for the possibility that we might not be able to reopen again. And now we aren’t even making 50 percent of what we usually bring in the middle of the summer season,” Teixeira said.
“But this tip restored our hope in humanity. It made us feel so good about what we’re doing. We go through a lot of steps to protect our customers, and it gets exhausting after a while, but now we know our efforts have actually been noticed,” he added.
This story is part of a growing trend where mystery customers are leaving massive sums of money on their restaurant bills to ensure they stay afloat during the coronavirus.
One anonymous customer left a $1,300 tip to support a Texas restaurant’s reopening in May, while another donated his entire $1,200 stimulus check at an Arkansas steakhouse, and another Colorado man left a $4,000 tip on his order at a Colorado saloon.