The hospitality industry could be decimated by lockdown measures because of Covid-19, and the generosity of strangers has been crucial to those who work in it.
Around the world, restaurants, bars and cafes are increasingly worried about their future as they face months of rent and bills with far fewer customers than before. But some states in the US are starting to lift their stay at home orders, with restaurants and bars re-opening.
One restaurant, the Frog and the Bull in Austin, Texas reopened last Friday – and one of their regular customers left behind a $1,300 tip on top of his meal.
The man and his family had had their regular meal, which came out to $337. He then asked the waiter to double charge him, something he’d never heard of, so he brought David Fernandez, the owner of the restaurant out to help him.
After Fernandez charged him double for everything, bringing his total to $730, the customer added another $1,300 in tips, which brought his total to $2,029. Fernandez told CNN, “I didn't really know what to say. It was extremely generous and I was just so wowed by it."
The customer told his waiter, Josh Pikoff, that he was grateful that the restaurant had reopened and that the members of staff were putting themselves at risk in order to keep serving food.
Fernandez and Pikoff said that while the customer was a regular, they didn’t know much else about him. The Frog and the Bull has a maximum 25-person seating capacity under regular circumstances, and Fernandez has put in measures to help with social distancing.
The Frog and the Bull is one of many establishments that had to pivot what they were doing overnight in order to stay afloat. They had only opened five months before, and many of the staff were laid off in order to keep the business going.
The stay at home order in Texas was lifted on 30 April. Anti-lockdown protests have spread around the country too – in states where lockdown measures are being lifted gradually, such as Georgia – even though the number of new confirmed cases every day is only climbing.