When Customers Asked To Settle Their Bill In Private, The Server Saw The Check And Realized Why

It was a busy night in a Connecticut bar when Ashley Latella and Carlos Carmo Jr. escorted three customers into the kitchen to pay their bill behind closed doors. At first, the bartender and manager feared that the men were displeased with their service. But as it turned out, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

In 2013 Latella and Carmo worked at Seagrape Cafe in Fairfield, CT. Latella was a bartender while Carmo was her manager. And one of the perks of their jobs was receiving gratuities from generous customers.

No-one could deny that the pair worked hard for their money. In December 2013, they were working in the packed-out bar one busy Saturday night. It was so loud inside the venue that Carmo recalled it was tricky to hear what other people were saying.

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Describing that particular shift in a 2013 interview with TV news station WTNH, Carmo said, “It was so busy. It’s tough to, you know, have a conversation with people with a DJ blasting the music and college kids screaming.”

Amid the chaos, a group of three men were enjoying an evening out. They looked completely ordinary. “Early 40s, you know, good shape, looked good – good guys,” Carmo later said when asked to describe the trio.

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After finishing their drinks, the group approached Latella, who was working on the bar. They told her that they wanted to settle their bill. However, they wanted to pay in private. Puzzled but happy to oblige, the bartender directed them to the kitchen.

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At first, Latella thought the group’s wish was a little weird. As a result, she went to tell Carmo what was happening. “It was a strange request and I was a little concerned,” she admitted to the Fairfield Citizen newspaper in 2013.

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Speaking to WTNH, Latella added, “Our antennas went up and we were wondering what had happened. I told the manager, Carlos, to go kinda make sure everything was okay. We wanted to make sure that they weren’t upset about anything.”

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However, it transpired that the men weren’t unhappy at all. Rather, they wanted to give the four bartenders working that night a tip. One so generous, in fact, that it would take Carmo a moment to process just how much money the group were giving.

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Later Carmo explained, “We originally thought it said 500 and we were so happy we said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ And they were like, ‘No. Look at the receipt again.’ And I saw another zero.”

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The three men had tipped nothing less than $5,000 on a $112 bar tab. “That’s when my face, I know, just turned white,” said Carmo. And Latella was equally shocked. “I burst out into tears because I was so happy and thankful,” she told the Fairfield Citizen.

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Of all the tips Latella had received during her three years working at the bar, the colossal sum was the most she’d ever received by a distance. “Afterward I gave him a hug,” she revealed. “It was such a nice gesture.”

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The men behind the gratuity were from the mysterious Tips for Jesus movement. According to the group’s Instagram bio, they are, “Doing the Lord’s work, one tip at a time.” And the staff at Seagrape Cafe aren’t the only people to benefit from their generosity.

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Prior to their visit to Seagrape, Tips for Jesus had already gifted numerous servers with sums of up of $10,000. The movement’s Instagram account shows staff posing happily with their generous gratuity receipts.

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One of the group’s most active periods occurred in December 2013. That month they gifted three different Manhattan restaurants with tips totalling $11,500. And it seems Tips for Jesus is still going strong, with an Instagram post dating the most recent show of largesse to November 2017.

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Carmo and Latella’s generous tip came just before Christmas, inspiring Latella and her coworkers to show some altruism of their own. “Next morning, after we got that tip I said, ‘It’s time to go to the toy store,” Latella revealed to WTNH.

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Latella’s idea was to buy gifts for disadvantaged children in the area. She was already planning to donate some toys. However, thanks to the generous tip, she was able to give even more to the worthy cause of helping others.

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All the items were for a local toy drive run by children’s charity Al’s Angels. “I’m a real estate agent during the day and I work here at night. I’ve been trying to gather toys at my office – toys, blankets,” Latella explained.

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Thanks to his brush with the Tips for Jesus guys, Carmo now subscribes to the theory of karma – a belief that if you put good out in the world, you will receive it back. And by paying their tip forward to charity, the Seagrape staff are continuing the cycle of generosity.

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Carmo explained to WTNH, “When I go out to dinner with with my girlfriend we always say, you know, ‘Let’s tip them a little extra. Pay it forward.’ Joking around. Never knowing that this would come back. I guess it’s just good karma.”

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