Washington State Restaurant Surprised by $1,000 Christmas Tip

American dollars banknotes on old wooden table background. Dollars money on table.
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A customer recently surprised a struggling Mexican restaurant in Washington state with a $1,000 tip just in time for Christmas.

For 40 years, El Toreador Mexican Restaurant had thrived in downtown Redmond, Washington, well before the arrival of Microsoft and the luxury apartments that followed.

“This was like a horse town. I’ve seen horses go by the front of this restaurant,” Mark Mahan, one of the owners of El Toreador Mexican Restaurant, told KING.

Mahan’s mother, a Mexican immigrant, opened the restaurant in 1979. It is still standing during the pandemic, but the sit-down restaurant is barely holding on with takeout only orders and no outdoor dining.

“We haven’t taken a profit since March,” Mahan said.

So when the staff received a $1,000 tip on a $26 bill, it brought tears to Mahan’s wife’s eyes.

Mahan said in a year riddled with bad news about the pandemic, it is not uncommon to see tips of $50 or $100 dollars in the restaurant industry.

“His act of kindness is going to go a long way, because who’s not going to smile about getting $50 to $100 dollars,” Mahan said.

El Toreador is not the first restaurant recently to get an enormous tip on a small bill.

A customer at an Ohio restaurant left a $5,600 tip on a one-cent bill on December 12, and on the same day, a restaurant patron tipped a Pennsylvania waitress $5,000 on a $200 bill.


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