Serving in a restaurant can be quite a stressful job. Even though the customer isn’t always right, those working in the food industry make their living off tips, and therefore, are at the mercy of satisfied customers.
That being said, it’s difficult to comply with every patron during your shift, especially if they make an odd request. This was the case for one female bartender in Connecticut when a group of men asked to speak with her and her manager behind closed doors. What the men revealed then was something quite startling…
Bartender Ashley Latella worked at a Fairfield, Connecticut bar called the Seagrape Cafe. Like many in the service industry, she had a responsibility to provide her patrons with excellent customer service.
One Saturday in December of 2013, Ashley and her manager Carlos Carmo were working as hard as they could to accommodate a rush of college students who’d flooded in.
The Seagrape / Facebook
“It was so busy,” Carlos recalled. “It’s tough to have a conversation with people when the DJ is blasting music and college kids are screaming.” In that kind of environment, connecting with customers was rare.
The clientele that night included a group of three ordinary men. Carlos (pictured) described them as “early forties, you know, good shape, looked good.” Other than that, he didn’t think there was anything remarkable about them.
When the men finished their drinks, they made an unusual request of Ashley, who had been serving them: they wanted to settle their bill in private. Naturally, she was somewhat taken aback, but she obliged and led them to the kitchen.
Ashley was confused. Had she done something wrong? After all, it was her job to provide the best customer service possible, and if she failed in that, it could hurt her manager’s reputation.
You can’t really blame Ashley for feeling like she might’ve been walking into a risky—or at least, an extremely awkward—situation. Why would a restaurant tab need to be settled in private?
With that in mind, she took the proper precautions and asked her manager for help. “I told [Carlos] to go make sure everything was okay,” Ashley explained. “We wanted to be sure they weren’t upset about anything.”
Resperiment – Creative Branding & Marketing / YouTube
As it turned out, the case was actually quite the opposite. These men wanted to tip all four of the bartenders who had been working that busy night, which was a generous offer in itself. But then the men asked to do something else…
One of the men handed Carlos the bill for the tip—and Carlos could not believe his eyes. “We originally thought it said 500 and we were so happy,” Carlos said. “And they were like, ‘No, look at the receipt again. And I saw another zero.”
The group’s bill only came out to $112, but they tipped $5,000! “That’s when my face… just turned white,” Carlos said. Ashley added that she “burst out into tears because I was so happy and thankful.”
In her three years as a bartender, this was by far the biggest tip Ashley had ever received. “Afterward I gave him a hug,” she said of the man who handed Carlos the bill. “It was such a nice gesture.”
It wasn’t the first time these men tipped such a large amount on their bill. Apparently, they belonged to a group called Tips for Jesus, whose mission, as described on their Instagram account, was: “Doing the Lord’s work, one tip at a time.”
That month was a particularly active time for the group; not only were they generous to the Seagrape Cafe staff, but they tipped $11,500 to three separate restaurants in Manhattan. And they didn’t stop there!
tipsforjesus / Instagram
The group continued to extend unparalleled generosity to servers and bartenders across the country. One bartender, pictured here, was given $1,000 on an $85 tab! At other bars, Tips for Jesus has offered as much as $10,000.
tipsforjesus / Instagram
It would be understandable if they kept it for themselves, but Ashley and her coworkers decided to pay the generosity forward. “Next morning, after we got that tip I said, ‘It’s time to go to the toy store,'” Ashley said.
The toys she purchased were all collected for Al’s Angels, a local toy drive. “I’m a real estate agent during the day and I work here at night. I’ve been trying to gather toys at my office… toys, blankets,” Ashley revealed.
As for Carlos, the remarkable generosity that the men showed to him and his staff affirmed his belief in karma. That was exactly why he wanted to be generous to others himself!
“When I go out to dinner with with my girlfriend we always say, ‘Let’s tip them a little extra,'” Carlos said, before adding, “joking around, never knowing that this would come back.”
You can say they were lucky, but Carlos, Ashley, and everyone else who has ever served members from Tips For Jesus believed it was just great customer service. “I guess it’s just good karma,” Carlos said. They must have done something right!
While not everyone can be expected to be quite this generous, it just goes to show how such kindness can truly change lives. Hopefully this group continues to do great work!
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