“He would always tip 20 per cent. He never even looked at the bill.”
A wealthy regular of Donahue’s Steak House went above and beyond his normal tipping rate when he doled out $US50,000 each in his will for two servers, The New York Post reports.
Robert Ellsworth, an art collector worth millions, lived in a 20-room apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue, a coveted building that was nicknamed “The Impenetrable Co-Op” by New York Magazine. It’s the same building that broke record for priciest co-op last year, when a unit sold for $US70 million. Ellsworth made the fifteen block trek to dine at Donohue’s for the last fifty years of his life, sometimes visiting for two meals a day.
It had become somewhat of his second home before he passed away in August of 2014 at age 85.
Maureen Donohue-Peters is the daughter of the restaurant’s founder, and has worked in the family restaurant her whole life. She was shocked and grateful to have been included in Ellsworth’s will, along with her niece, Maureen Barrie. They were referred to in the will as “Maureen-at-Donohue’s” and “Maureen-at-Donohue’s Niece Maureen.”
Despite Ellsworth’s highly regular visits, he never learned the last names of the women who had become his favourite servers.
Ellsworth was “more than just a customer,” Donohue-Peters told the Post, who knew him for 53 years.
“He was a wonderful man and a dear friend,” Barrie added.
This isn’t the first time that humble servers have been blown away with generous and unexpected tips, but this was a demonstration of gratitude for a lifetime of service, not just a random act of kindness.
Ellsworth left $US100,000 to his household staff and other friends as well.
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