Five-figure tip: Customer leaves $10K gratuity at Michigan restaurant

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — A server at a Michigan restaurant did a double take earlier this month after receiving a $10,000 tip for a meal that only cost $32.43.

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The surprised server at the Mason Jar Cafe in Benton Harbor split the tip with her eight co-workers, netting all nine of them more than $1,100 from one order, WOOD-TV reported.

The generous tip happened on Feb. 5 at about 1:12 p.m. EST, according to a Facebook post by the restaurant.

“My first reaction was that it didn’t sound real,” Jayme Cousins, the owner of the restaurant, told The Herald-Palladium two days later. “I’ve been in this business for 20-some years and I’ve never seen anything like that. The largest tip I’d seen was $1,000. This was a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of situation.”

Cousins said she was not at the restaurant when the customer, named Mark, left the five-figure tip. Workers texted her a photograph of the bill as proof, according to the newspaper.

Restaurant manager Tim Sweeney, who was at the restaurant and spoke with the customer, said that occasionally a customer will leave a $100 tip “every now and then.”

“But not ever anything of this gratitude or magnitude,” he told WOOD.

Linsey Boyd, the recipient of the tip, told WSBT-TV that she was “overcome with emotion.”

“I just gave him a hug. I didn’t even know his name at that point, but I gave him a hug,” Boyd told the television station. “He then told me he left her a memorial of someone very dear to him and he wanted to do something kind and generous in her name.”

“It was in memory of a friend who had recently passed and he was in town for the funeral,” server Paige Mulick, who was also working that day, told WOOD. “It was just really an act of kindness that impacted so many people.”

The servers at the Mason Jar Cafe normally keep their own tips.

The tipper asked Boyd to split the cash with her co-workers and she eagerly complied, WSBT reported.

Sweeney told the television station that he was stunned when he saw the receipt.

“Absolute disbelief to begin with,” he told WOOD. “We went back and forth. I had a conversation with him. He wanted to proceed. (The waitress) was absolutely shocked.”

But Sweeney added that he was not surprised when Boyd agreed so readily to share the tip.

“Anytime you can lend a hand and change somebody’s life -- whether it’s a small act or a large act -- it’s very important to just keep that in the forefront, keep that top of mind,” Sweeney told WOOD. “A little bit goes a long way. In this situation, a lot goes a long way.”

“In a time where so much is happening, we wanted to share and thank the person who did this life-changing act,” the restaurant wrote on Facebook. “Things can feel real heavy sometimes, but this was such an amazing act to have seen firsthand in our restaurant.

Sweeney added that a restaurant like the Mason Jar Cafe takes a long time to get that much in tips, according to the television station.

“Many, many, many months,” he laughed.

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