MELBOURNE, Fla. - A woman who ate Thanksgiving dinner alone at a Melbourne restaurant left a big surprise for those who worked the holiday shift.
Florida Today reports the woman, who didn't want to be identified, says she needed her spirits lifted last Thursday. The staff at Chart House restaurant apparently did just that.
"They made me feel like a member of the family. They're always great toward me. I just felt like I owed them a lot of gratitude for making my day," she said.
The woman sat at the bar, ordered the $29.95 Thanksgiving dinner and spent three hours at the Chart House.
When she left, bartender Kim Gasperini reached across the dimly lit bar for the check. At first she thought the decimal had been misplaced and the woman had left an $8.35 tip.
But a note scrawled on a napkin instructed Gasperini and the other bartender to each take $50 and split the remainder of the $835 tip between the other employees working Thanksgiving Day. Each worker got about $15.
News of the tip spread quickly among those who spent their holiday working at the restaurant.
Valet George Seguna was outside when he heard about the tip. But he wasn't surprised when he learned who left it.
"She's a very, very giving person," he said. "We're just happy to have her as a regular."
Gasperini, who has tended bar at the Chart House for 23 years, says she serves many regulars at the bar.
"I've had outrageous tips, I have had gifts as tips," she said. "But never the entire restaurant. That's what blew me away. ... People were just dumbfounded."
The big tipper told Florida Today she didn't leave the tip to get praise. "I did it because I am grateful for what I have. I'm very blessed and grateful that they spent their time away from their own families to serve us customers. That's the least I could do."
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