A New Hampshire bar found itself at the center of controversy after a patron left waitstaff an enormous tip, then online critics angrily complained about how the money was distributed.
The mysterious customer took a seat at the bar at The Stumble Inn Bar & Grill in Londonderry, N.H., on June 12. They ordered two chili dogs, a Coke, fried pickles, a pint of seasonal Samuel Adams, and a pour of Patrón Silver tequila. With a $37.93 tab, the generous man left an astonishing $16,000 tip.
Bartender Michelle McCudden told NBC10Boston, “For someone to do something like that really restored my faith in humanity.”
Owner Mike Zarella added, “I thought it was a mistake. A typo.”
The unidentified diner confirmed that the gratuity was genuine and that he wanted to help workers that were affected by the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry.
The establishment operated with a pooled tip policy, and in this circumstance, the staff decided to alter the protocols slightly to include four cooks in the split, as well as front-of-house staff. With management excluded, each employee received $1,333.33.
Sadly, even this extraordinary act of generosity was not free from critique in today’s polarizing online landscape. On Twitter, some critics attacked the bar for splitting the money equally between 12 employees working at the time, rather than the whole tip going to the diner’s server. A series of tweets declared the decision unethical, with hundreds of responses varying from comedic reflections to threats aimed at Zarella.
WOW! A customer at The Stumble Inn, a restaurant in Londonderry, NH, left a $16,000 tip on a $37.93 tab earlier this month.
— Amaka Ubaka (@AmakaUbakaTV) June 23, 2021
Despite the critical response from these vocal opponents, McCudden and the staff confirmed to Boston News Anchor Amaka Ubaka that the split-tip policy was mutually agreed upon.