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Customer leaves $2,020 tip at Florida restaurant as part of tip challenge

RUSKIN, Fla. — Tampa Bay area businesses have adjusted and adapted during the COVID-19 crisis to meet the needs of their customers. One generous customer decided to leave behind a big tip at a restaurant in Ruskin, which impacted every single employee.

“Knowing everything that’s gone on with the pandemic, it really was a good feeling that there’s still some good in the world that they would go out of their way [to] choose our establishment to do the challenge,” said manager Robert Godfrey.

For employees at South Shore Pizza in Ruskin, Christmas came early. Godfrey explained a customer came in this week for a large pizza and eight-piece wing order, which would cost about $29.

Instead, the customer tipped $2,020 to be divided evenly among the staff.

“It means the world to them,” said Godfrey. “That’s unexpected, ‘Oh thank you very much.”

The surprise was part of a 2020 tip challenge that took off at the beginning of the year. After the tip was split, employees ended up with about $80.

“I think it’s very generous. It helps a lot,” said Avery Loschinkohl. “A lot of the people working here are teenagers who want to have a part-time job to make some extra money so that really helped a lot.”

During a year full of the unexpected, employees ask people to treat each other like family, show strangers kindness, and pay it forward.

“There’s still a lot of good in the world. Take care of all your service industry,” said Godfrey.

This story was first reported by Mary O'Connell at WFTS in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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