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Customer tips $10,000 on day before restaurant's coronavirus-linked layoffs

Naples, Florida — The owner of a southwest Florida restaurant is trying to figure out who left a $10,000 tip for its employees just before the state's eateries were ordered to close their dining rooms during the coronavirus pandemic.

The man's generosity meant the 20 staff members at the restaurant split the cash, with each getting $500 on the day before they were laid off from their jobs.

Ross Edlund, who the Naples Daily News says owns the Skillets restaurant chain, told the newspaper the man who handed a manager the wad of cash is a regular customer, and he thinks his name might be Bill or Bob. He says the man likes to eat on the patio on weekdays and on weekends he often brings his family for brunch. They'd like to thank him.

"It's funny because we have regulars who have been coming in forever, and they're our friends but we don't always know their names. We know their faces, their orders, their favorite tables, but we don't know exactly who they are," Edlund told the newspaper.

Edlund was forced to lay off 90% of his 200 employees over the past week. He's keeping some of his restaurants open with skeleton crews preparing take-out services.

The $10,000 tip was the most benevolent act his workers have seen, but Edlund says it's not the only one. He said many servers received big tips last week and they continue to get them as regular customers pick up curbside orders. 

Surviving an Unlivable Wage 27:02
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