Restaurant customer stuns employees by leaving $1,000 after $43 breakfast

A struggling beachside restaurant got some much-needed help thanks to an anonymous customer and their 2,400 percent tip.

The Starving Artist, an eatery in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, usually sees big crowds as locals and tourists rush to its doors during the summer season. But as owner Arnold Teixeira told CNN, the restaurant isn’t even making half of what it would usually make this time of year.

“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,” Teixeira said.

That changed when one customer’s tip restored Teixeira’s “hope in humanity.” It came during a breakfast order totaling just $43. The tip, however, was a remarkable $1,000.

“When the waiter serving them saw the tip, she just started crying,” Teixeira told CNN. “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.”

Teixeira told CNN he wished to help the customer remain anonymous, but added that the man has been a regular since 2001. Apparently, the mystery tipper also left behind a letter explaining his heartwarming act.

“Thank you so much for working through this tough time,” the note, obtained by CNN 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.”

Teixeira posted a photo of the tip on Facebook, writing that the action “goes beyond words.” Several other users also shared praise, commenting that the money was “wonderful” and “well-deserved.”

“I love when amazing things happen to fantastic people!” one user wrote.

The money certainly didn’t fix all of Teixeira’s problems, but it helped. The owner split the tip between his seven employees, although he didn’t keep any for himself.

“This tip restored our hope in humanity,” Teixeira told CNN. 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.”

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on the high school grad who freaked out when her parents surprised her with “Hamilton” tickets.

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