Mystery diner leaves $10,000 tip on $8 bill for employees to split: 'He wanted to help'

Yahoo Lifestyle

Just before Florida restaurants closed as an anti-coronavirus effort, a local diner left a $10,000 tip that allocated each employee $500.

Ross Edlund, the owner of the Skillets restaurant chain tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the patron, who wants anonymity, has eaten breakfast at the North Naples location each morning for the past year. “He’s a businessman who sits on the patio and eats while working on his laptop,” says Edlund.

On Thursday, after asking the manager how many employees were onsite, the man left and returned with $10,000 in cash, asking to distribute it between all the workers. “He knew that this pandemic would be financially difficult for the staff,” says Edlund. “He wanted to help.”

The employees were humbled out of respect for colleagues in other locations, says Edlund. “There was already some apprehension that day because we knew the restaurant closures were coming.”

With more than 82,000 coronavirus cases, the United States has surpassed China and Italy as the most-infected country and according to the Florida Department of Health, the state has 2,300 reported diagnoses. Like many restaurants, eight Skillets locations are operating only by delivery-and-takeout, while the ninth location has closed.

This isn’t the only major tip bestowed to Skillets employees, says Edlund — last Christmas, a couple walked into the restaurant kitchen and started handing out $100 bills to the staff.

Edlund said the man who left the $10,000 tip also insisted on paying for his oatmeal and toast. “This is a hallmark of who we are,” he says. “We’re a neighborhood breakfast-and-lunch place and customers consider it their home. They bond with staff and everyone knows each other.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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