Restaurants needs our help now more than ever.

By Andrea Romano
March 25, 2020

A simple act of kindness can make a huge impact.

A couple decided to leave a $9,400 tip for employees at a restaurant in Houston, Texas as a way of helping to support the staff, CNN reported.

As self-quarantine and social distancing measures ramp up in an effort to fight coronavirus (COVID-19), many non-essential businesses have been ordered to close or switch to pick up and delivery services.

Of course, for local restaurants, the future seems uncertain as they weather the storm. Many service industry employees have been laid off or are now underemployed as a result of the outbreak. While many businesses are opting to start GoFundMe campaigns, others who are trying to stay in business are relying on the kindness of their local patrons.

The couple, who wished to remain anonymous, were dining at Irma's Southwest on Monday, March 23, when they decided to leave about a 10,400 percent tip on their bill, CNN reported. The couple’s actual bill had only come out to $90.12, according to CNN, but instead of leaving a customary 20 percent tip (which would have been about $18), the couple left $1,900 in cash and another $7,500 on a credit card, adding up to a whopping $9,400.

Paying with card at a restaurant.
Credit: Frank van Delft/Getty Images/Cultura RF

Restaurant owner Louis Galvan told CNN that he was surprised by the couple’s generosity. “We didn't expect it, to be honest with you. They left a gratuity for the entire kitchen and service staff, which is unexpected,” Galvan said.

According to CNN, they also left a note on their bill that simply read, “hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks.”

Galvan told CNN that the tip was distributed amongst the restaurant’s 30 employees, excluding management. Each employee got just over $300. Galvan said that the restaurant is now in “survival mode,” keeping on staff in hope of paying back their regular wages, limiting the menu (which serves up fajitas, tamales, and other Mexican-style dishes), and deep cleaning and disinfecting the kitchen and dining room.

“We've been in Houston since the '80s and, we just want to make sure whether we're doing 10 meals a day or 100 meals a day that we're here for our residents as much as we can be,” Galvan told CNN.

There are lots of ways people can support their small businesses, restaurants, and bars aside from generous tips. Here’s how you can help your community stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis.