This woman has been working as a bartender at Seagrape Cafe in Fairfield, Connecticut for three years, but what she encountered on one particular night was totally unforeseen.
When three men, believed to be in their early 40s, entered the Reef Road bar near Fairfield Beach on a weekend, bartender Ashley Latella didn’t notice anything unusual.
Amid a fun atmosphere filled with music, the men sat back and relaxed with drinks.
They were like any other customers.
Speaking to NBC Connecticut, Latella said: “They were normal guys, very, very nice. They asked us each for individual stuff here and there.”
But when it was time to pay the bill, they made an odd request. One of the men approached Latella, asking if there was a place where he could settle the bill privately.
“It was a strange request and I was a little concerned,” Latella told Fairfield Citizen.
Clueless about his intention, Latella directed him to the kitchen and informed manager Carlos Carmo Jr.
In the kitchen, the man signed the receipt and gave it to Carmo and Latella, saying, “Merry Christmas, look at the receipt.”
Carmo and Latella looked at the receipt and thought he saw $500 written on it.
“I thought it said $500,” Carmo said.
So did Latella. “At first I thought it was $500, but the gentleman told me to look closer,” she recalled.
When Carmo and Latella looked at the receipt closely, they were surprised.
The man wrote “$5,000” and “tips for Jesus” on a $112 bill.
“$5,000 my face turned white!” said Carmo.
Latella burst into tears.
“I cried. It was really, really…obviously tears of joy. I cried because I’m very grateful someone would do such a kind thing,” said Latella. “It was such a nice gesture,” she added.
This generous tip was split equally between Latella and the three other bartenders working that night. Moreover, Latella and Carmo chose to pay the kindness forward.
“The next day I needed to get to the toy store and really fulfill what I really, truly in my heart wanted to do,” said Latella.
They used part of the money to buy toys for disadvantaged children at Al’s Angels Children’s Charity of Westport for the upcoming Christmas.
“This was our way of sharing our good fortune with the community,” Latella said.
Later the anonymous man shared the photo of the receipt on the “Tips for Jesus” Instagram account.
“Hard to beat the service at The Seagrape…,” the post reads.
“Tips For Jesus” is a mass tipping movement from anonymous diners, an initiative prevalent during 2013 to 2015.