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Document Viewer Mystery diner leaves $10,000 tip at Naples restaurant
Source: AP - AP Wire Service
Mar 27 07:12

Associated Press

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) _ Owners of a southwest Florida restaurant are trying to figure out who left a $10,000 tip for his 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 Pavillion restaurant split the cash, each getting $500 on the day before they were laid off from their jobs.

Ross Edlund, who owns nine restaurants, told the Naples Daily News that 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.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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Another regular, who's dined at Skillets since its first store opened near the corner of Pine Ridge and Airport-Pulling roads in 1995, handed Edlund an envelope early last week. The front read: ``Do not open unless you close.`` Edlund opened it Friday afternoon and found $150 cash. He distributed the money to his employees.

``We're taking it day by day,`` Edlund said.

``We're making sure no one loses their health benefits. We're counseling our staff on how to apply for unemployment.``

While searching for the $10,000 mystery donor, Edlund is also watching the $2 trillion coronavirus bailout bill move through Congress. He's happy to see the bill is allocating more money to workers, not just big businesses.

``These people deserve it,`` he said. ``It shouldn't all go to the top. It should go to people who make life happen on a day-to-day basis. They are the hardest hit. They need this money the most.``

Eight of Skillets locations from Naples to south Fort Myers are open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. daily for takeout and curbside

AP-WF-03-27-20 1112GMT


Received Id AP120087C9080D7A on Mar 28 2020 16:49