Customer Who Ordered a Single Beer at Cleveland Restaurant Leaves $3,000 Tip for Staff

A Cleveland restaurant owner is publicly sharing his gratitude after a customer recently came in and ordered a single beer, only to leave a $3,000 tip for the staff.

Nighttown owner Brendan Ring said he was "humbly grateful" after receiving the generous tip from a customer on Nov. 22, just one day before he was voluntarily closing his restaurant's doors for a few months amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Unbelievable but symbolic of the kind of quality folks we have [come to] know at Nighttown all these years," he wrote in a Facebook post beside a photo of the check. "All my waitstaff and myself [are] humbly grateful for this incredibly kind and grand gesture."

Ring explained to ABC affiliate WEWS that his restaurant had been doing well, but the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Ohio made it clear that a temporary shut-down was necessary.

The state is currently experiencing some of its highest numbers since the pandemic began, with 7,729 new cases and 21 new deaths linked to COVID-19 that were reported on Sunday, according to the New York Times.

"We've actually had a really, really good summer. People have supported us unbelievably," Ring explained to the outlet. "That's what made it even more difficult for me to make the decision to hit the pause button here again until the complications are sort of under control."

After announcing on Facebook that he would have to close his restaurant on Nov. 22 until the spring, Ring said a customer came in on the final day of operations, right before closing time, to enjoy a single beer.

"[He] asked for the check and handed his credit card slip to me, wished me well while we sit out our voluntary shutdown and told me to share the tip amongst the wait staff, of which there was four working brunch today," he wrote in the recent Facebook post, noting that he was purposely withholding the man's identity.

"As he walked out, I looked down at the tip and realized he left a whopping $3000 tip on a single beer purchase," Ring continued in the post. "I ran after him and he said, 'No mistake, we will see you when you reopen!'"

Speaking to WEWS of the gesture, which amounts to a 42,735% tip, Ring added: "My eyes almost popped out of my head."

Because the restaurant owner is known as a prankster, he told CNN that his waitstaff didn't initially believe him when he relayed the news.

"[A waitress] said, 'Yeah right, you did that.' The next server I showed it to, she started crying. She knew it was legit," Ring recalled to the outlet, adding that each staffer working that day received a $750 tip.

Though they were taken aback by the generous tip, bartender Heather Sandow said the customer's act of kindness was about more than just money.

"I think personally, it's more about the gesture that was made and the unselfishness that was demonstrated," she told WEWS. "The customers have been coming here over the years. They do care about us."

And that support is all the more special in 2020 after a particularly difficult year, Ring said.

"We're all so desperate for uplifting news," he told CNN. "If this was a normal year, yeah, this would be a good story, but it's a great story because of the year we're in. The outpouring of love for this story has been universal."

As of Monday, there have been at least 421,063 cases and 6,429 deaths attributed to coronavirus in Ohio, according to the New York Times.

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