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‘Don’t spend it all at once!’ Customer leaves $16,000 tip on $37.93 bill for chili dogs and drinks

A New Hampshire restaurant staff is reaping the benefits after a customer left a five-figure tip on a minuscule order.

The customer entered the Stumble Inn Bar & Grill in Londonderry on the afternoon of Saturday, June 12 and sat at the outside bar, where they ordered two chili dogs, fried pickle chips, a Coke, a beer and a single shot of tequila.

The bill came out to $37.93, but the customer – who wished to remain anonymous – surprised the bartender by leaving a massive $16,000 tip.

‘Don’t spend it all in one place,’ the customer joked to the bartender, who required a couple of extra hints to realize what had just occurred.

‘When she looked down, she was just absolutely shocked,’ restaurant owner Mike Zarella told CNN. ‘She was like, “Oh, my God, no that’s just crazy.”‘

A New Hampshire restaurant staff is reaping the benefits after a customer left a five-figure tip on a minuscule order. Pictured: Family and staff of The Stumble Inn in Londonderry

‘The girls went over to him and thanked him. They are overjoyed,’ Zarella added. 

The bartenders ended up contacting Zarella to tell him about the generous tip.

The bill for the customer came out to $37.93, but they left a $16,000 tip

The bill for the customer came out to $37.93, but they left a $16,000 tip

‘I thought it was a mistake, it could have been maybe a $160 tip and he added extra zeros,’ Zarella told WMUR

‘The bar manager talked to the gentleman and he said, “No, it’s $16,000”.’

The eight bartenders on the shift that day not only split the tip between themselves, but also the four members of the kitchen staff who were working.

Zarella says that many of the bartenders are planning on using their portion of the tip for summer vacations they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Boss Zarella didn’t keep any of the tip. 

Zarella waited nine days before he began to talk about the tip, just because he was worried it may not actually go through.

He then shared the good deed on Facebook, where the restaurant did receive some criticism for pooling the tip together.

The eight bartenders on the shift that day not only split between themselves, but also the four members of the kitchen staff who were working (restaurant pictured)

The eight bartenders on the shift that day not only split between themselves, but also the four members of the kitchen staff who were working (restaurant pictured)

The Stumble Inn did close for a few months during the pandemic (restaurant pictured)

The Stumble Inn did close for a few months during the pandemic (restaurant pictured)

‘We’ve been getting killed on social media lately, but pool tipping is common in certain restaurants and it works for us,’ Zarella said.

‘It doesn’t matter how big the tip is; they still share it with everyone working that shift.’ 

The customer has since started returning regularly to the restaurant, giving Zarella a chance to get to know him a little better.

‘I went over and sat with him, and I thanked him and told him, “Are you sure? Because we’re uncomfortable with this amount of money,'” Zarella said of a recent interaction.

‘If he had made a mistake and asked for it back, we would have given it back, but he said, “No, I want them to have that money.”‘

The restaurant owner expressed further gratitude for the anonymous customer’s actions two weeks ago.

‘In the end, this is just a happy story and we are grateful for his generosity,’ Zarella said. 

Zarella also identified the tip as one of the biggest in the history of his business.

‘Oh yeah, maybe to date, maybe there will be a bigger one for the staff, who knows,’ Zarella said to WMUR. 

According to WMUR, the Stumble Inn did close for a few months during the pandemic. 


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