'No words': Customer's $16k gesture to restaurant in lockdown

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
The customers left $13101 on a credit card, and $3200 in cash. Photo: ABC13

A restaurant in Texas has been blown away by an extremely generous gesture from a pair of customers.

Houston-based dining house Irma's Southwest shared the remarkable moment a pair of diners paid their bill and left a $16,200 AUD ($9,400USD) tip as a nod to the business’s struggle with the coronavirus lockdown measures.

The pair’s meal only came to $155, making the tip more than 100 time their original bill. They also left a note, advising the tip should be used to pay staff for the next few weeks, as social distancing takes it’s toll on businesses.

Restaurant owner Louis Galvan shared the story with CNN, saying the gesture came totally out of the blue.

"We didn't expect it, to be honest with you," Galvan said. "They left a gratuity for the entire kitchen and service staff, which is unexpected."

Split between 30 employees the tip allows $300 per person, and with at least two weeks of social-distancing ahead of them, the tip could prove invaluable to the business.

Staff speechless over generosity

Texan restaurant Irmas Southwest was blown away by a $16,000 tip. Photo: Facebook/IrmasSouthwest

Mr Galvan says the staff were floored by the move.

"They were amazed that a client would care enough about them to leave that amount to help them get through this tough time," he said.

Staffer Janet Montex told ABC 13 she had ‘no words’.

“I don’t even have words for it,” she said.

“It didn’t surprise me because they’re so kind, [such] generous people, they always have been.”

The restaurant is one of millions impacted by the global pandemic and is planning a reduced menu and takeaway options for the foreseeable future.

"We're not even worried about profitability at this point,” Mr Galvan told the news site. “We're in survival mode.”

Major fast-food chains take action

McDonald's is providing contactless options at every restaurants as customers complain of 'risky' approach. Photo: Getty Images

The gesture comes as major fast-food chains take drastic action to slow the spread of the virus.

KFC announced in-store dining will be closed in Australia for the foreseeable future, and McDonald’s has introduced special low-contact measures.

KFC surprised customers, however, with their refusal to shift on their gloves policy which currently requires only certain staff to wear gloves.

They did, however, tell Yahoo Lifestyle that staff would be paid for any shifts impacted by closures, and even casual staff will be paid their rostered shifts in the event of mass closures.

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