Gina Vaynshteyn
May 27, 2015 12:51 pm

This week, something incredible, and totally unexpected, and entirely heartwarming happened to a bartender and the restaurant where she works. A customer who often frequents Blue 44 in Chevy Chase, Maryland — who, as NBC Washington reports, asked not to be named — left a $2,000 tip on a $93 check. On the bill, the man indicated he wanted $1,000 to go to the chef of the establishment, $500 to Laura Dally, his server, and $500 for the restaurant’s owner, Chris Nardelli.

Apparently, prior to the customer’s arrival (he’s a regular) the Blue 44 chef e-mailed with the patron to ask when he’d be in next. He wanted to be sure he had the customer’s favorite gumbo ready to go. When the regular came in, the staff served him his meal and gave him his favorite gumbo on the house. Chris Nardelli, told NBC Washington, “We gave them a couple quarts of gumbo on the house after their meal, but never expected anything like this.” The customer was clearly touched by the gumbo gesture because on his receipt, the one with the mega-tip, he wrote, “Thanks for the gumbo!”

When Nardelli e-mailed the customer to thank him (profusely) for the generous tip, the customer explained he left it because, “he’s proud to be a customer,” Nardelli said.

Our hearts have officially melted into puddles.

“This is the kind of stuff you see in the restaurant business that happens to some guy in the Midwest or the West Coast,” Nardelli told the Washington Post. “You think — who are these people who give these extraordinarily generous tips that just made a server or bartender’s day. And then sure enough, it happened to us.”

Nardelli plans to use the extra tip money to help pay for his toddler’s day-care, the chef told the Washington Post he plans to spend his portion on his family, and the server says she’s going to use hers to pay for a summer course. Money incredibly well spent.

It’s so heartwarming and infinitely wonderful to see customers give back to small establishments like Blue 44, as well as people who benefit from the extra cash in ways we cannot even imagine. Just last month, a student left a $3,000 tip at a restaurant on behalf of his former science teacher, who had lost his son in a tragic accident and had started a foundation in his name.

We are just in awe of this most tremendous trend of kindness — it’s inspiring.

Image via NBC Washington, WUSA9

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