Staff at a US restaurant were left rubbing their eyes after a customer left a tip worth more than 400 times the cost of their meal.

The unnamed patron ordered a lunch of chilli cheese dogs, fried pickle chips and drinks from the Stumble Inn Bar and Grill in New Hampshire, and he clearly really enjoyed it.

The bill came to a grand total of $37.93 (around £27), but the man left more than the customary 12.5 per cent bonus for his servers.

Instead, they were greeted with a whopping $16,000 (£11,456).

The workers didn’t notice his generous act at first, the restaurant’s owner Mike Zarella told local broadcaster WMUR-TV.

It was only when the mysterious diner told them “not to spend it all at once”, that they took a proper look at the receipt.

When they asked the big tipper if he was “serious”, he said simply: “I want you to have it, you guys work hard.”

Zarella said that, when his employees informed him of the donation, he thought it must be a “typo”.

“I thought it was a mistake, could have been a $160 tip and he added some extra zeros,” he reasoned at the time. “But the bar manager talked to the gentleman and he said, ‘No, it’s $16,000’.”

The mysterious customer was not a regular at the New Hampshire restaurantWMUR-TV

Michelle McCudden, who was working that evening, said the customer’s kindness had “restored her faith in humanity”.

She told NBC Boston: "’I’ve been doing this a very long time and I never thought anything like this would happen to me.

"For someone to do something like that really restored my faith in humanity. He just said that we work really hard and he wanted to do something nice and he just really wanted us to have it."

The eight servers who were working that night have split the tip between them and divided up among the kitchen staff too.

McCudden said she and her colleagues were in awe of the “mystery man” who has chosen to remain anonymous.

“We went up and we thanked him,” she said. “It’s just been a really rough year for all of us.”

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