A large number of industries have been adversely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's mostly family-owned small businesses that have been hit the hardest, especially restaurants that thrive on in-dining experiences. This is especially true of waiters, bussers, bartenders, and a variety of restaurant and cafe employees who rely on tips from diners to earn a living.
And while many businesses have managed to adapt by offering delivery driving services and signing up for services like Uber Eats and Door Dash, for many it's still an uphill battle, as figuring out how to adjust their income streams and business models accordingly is a tall order. And that doesn't really help businesses whose models were primarily founded on indoor dining experiences.
And while a few "big time tips" here and there don't help to account for the massive loss in income potential for a lot of restaurant employees in the wake of the large-scale economic damage wrought by the response to the coronavirus pandemic, it's still awesome to see people attempting to help out others during such a difficult time.
Like this one frequent customer of a Miami cafe.
Miami Squeeze, a Family-owned and operated cafe and juice bar in North Miami Beach was open for approximately 30 years before COVID-19 hit. Kelly Amar, who helped run the business with her family about a year and a half ago, says that she was floored after seeing a customer who would drop in once or twice a week leave a whopping $2,021 tip to help ring in the New Year.
"It was a regular customer who comes in once or twice a week, and this is nothing we were expecting. When we first got the bill, we thought it was $20.21. We went back to her and asked, 'Are you sure?' and she said, 'Yes, of course, I'm so grateful for you guys and I want to give back ... I want to start the new year out right and give this to you guys," Kelly said.
The owners of the cafe split the tip among its 25 employees and then snapped a photo of the receipt with the 2,814% gratuity (the total the customer ordered was $71.84) and uploaded it to their company's Instagram account.
They wrote in the caption, "We can't even begin to express how thankful and humble we are for our amazing customers who have kept us in business."
The post continued, "Even though we are just a small juice bar we really pride ourselves in taking care of our guest, we're not just in the food business we're in the people business."
Kelly says that the huge tip was a great way to start 2021 off as the business had to let much of its staff go when the pandemic first hit and the family were running things just to keep the place afloat.
"2020 is over and 2021 is off to a good start so far!" Kelly said. She also told CNN that business is almost back to pre-pandemic levels and her and her family are looking to open a new location soon.