When Nicole Thompson received a $500 tip while bartending at a pizza restaurant in suburban Chicago last week, she almost couldn’t believe it. But when the same customer tipped her $1,000 just minutes later, she didn’t know what to do.
Thompson, a teacher who is also a longtime bartender for Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Crystal Lake, was simply helping out at the restaurant’s Elgin location for Father's Day when her friend and his boss came in.
The friend’s boss, who she said wanted to remain anonymous, asked to pay the tab for the guests next to him. As he did, he left Thompson a $500 tip.
“Of course I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no. Are you sure?' And he was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes,'” she said.
Then, her father came in for a visit, and began chatting with Thompson’s friend and his boss.
Soon after, the generous man asked to pay for her father’s tab too, Thompson said. And that’s when he stunned everyone – leaving her an additional $1,000 tip.
“I said ‘I can’t take this,’ and he said ‘Yes, you can,'” Thompson said. “The rest of the day I felt like different, like, what just happened here. I never anticipated that.”
According to Thompson, the man said he'd heard from her friend that she works two jobs and said she deserved it because she “works so hard.”
The owner of the restaurants, Nick Sarillo, wrote on Facebook that he was excited for Thompson.
“Like many of the team-members at Nick’s she works hard, working as a school teacher as her full-time job and being a team-member at Nick's as her second job, she puts in many hours to try and get ahead of all her fiscal commitments in life,” he wrote. “Yet, she manages to put those financial pressures aside to BE fully present with her guest.”
Sarillo added that it was nice to see someone “being very human – and giving forward,” and addressed the donor directly: “Although I have never met you - your act of kindness is inspiring, and reminds me that there is still many more good people in this world than there is bad.”
When asked if there was anything she’d like to say to the man whose generosity has inspired so many, Thompson simply said, “Thank you.”
“Thank you that was so nice,” she said. “It totally helped out with finances. It was so awesome.”