Surprise $10,000 tip leaves waiter, restaurant staff in tears

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 3:40 AM EDT
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SALT LAKE CITY (KSL) - A Utah restaurant owner and his staff got the surprise of a lifetime when a group of customers decided to leave a huge $10,000 tip.

Running a successful restaurant is no easy feat, but for Alfonso Brito, it’s a challenge he’s taken in stride. After years of moving up in the kitchen, he and his wife opened Monarca, a Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City, in 2021.

“When we moved to America, we had nothing to our names. We had $20 in our pocket, and we started working in the restaurant business as dishwashers,” Brito said.

His hard work paid off in spades Sept. 15 when a regular customer visited with a group of about 20 friends.

“They were about to leave and said, ‘Hey, Alfonso, can you come with your crew? We want to thank you because we had a great time.’ And I said, ‘Of course!’” Brito said.

Brito rounded up his staff and got the surprise of a lifetime when the group handed over a $10,000 tip.

“He just pulled out of his pocket $10,000 ... in 100s,” Brito said. “I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock.”

The astonished employees cheered and clapped, as seen in cell phone video of the generous act.

Steven Harward and Nikisha Timms were among the group giving out the tip. They said their friends have been giving out $1,000 tips at deserving restaurants. At Monarca, they were able to band together for a $10,000 tip – just because.

“Just such a cool experience to be able to give back a little bit,” Harward said.

The group wanted to be sure their server got $2,000 of the tip. The rest was split up and given to the restaurant staff who worked that day.

“To see the tears coming down our waiter’s face and how he was just full of gratitude, it was so cool,” Timms said.

Brito says he’s grateful that his “amazing” staff members were recognized for their hard work.

“It makes this world, really, a good place because we have these amazing people around who recognize my staff,” he said.