Guest leaves $5,600 tip for Ohio restaurant staff — just in time for the holidays

 One customer at an Ohio restaurant is certainly taking their lead from Santa Claus — leaving a special surprise for the staff this holiday season. The guest left a $5,600 tip for the workers, which the owner called "an amazing gesture of kindness."

"This really happened," wrote Moussa Salloukh on December 13 on the Facebook page of his Toledo restaurant, Souk Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar, which has been open since October 2019. "Last night one of our guests left a $5,600 tip to be given to all of our staff, whether they were working that shift or not."

The chef and owner said each person received $200 with the gratuity split between his 28 employees. 

Salloukh also posted a photo of the check that had totaled just $0.01 before the tip was added on. The benefactor is only identified as "Billy" in the post. 

"The words 'Thank You' seem inadequate for this gift... but Thank You, Billy, for your generous spirit and for making a difference in the lives of people I care a lot about this holiday season," Salloukh added.  

Salloukh explained that the generosity was especially "deeply needed and very appreciated" this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is not an ordinary December," he wrote in the post. "Normally this is a month when our employees work extra and guests tip generously. December is a month for them to earn money to buy family gifts, put a bit into savings, and take care of bills or repairs that have been lingering. With Covid restrictions and guidelines, that was not going to happen for them this year."

Restaurants, bars, and their staff across the country have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, having faced multiple rounds of restrictions as well as expensive starts and stops related to the crisis.

The National Restaurant Association estimated that as of December 1, more than 110,000 establishments had closed either permanently or temporarily, according to survey data released earlier this month.

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