A local waitress at South Fork Grille in Coconut Point was given a $1,000 tip just in time for the holidays.
Tracey Gerlach went to work at the Coconut Point restaurant, where she’s worked for nearly a year, earlier in December and was surprised by a customer’s generosity.
“I love… I love meeting new people, I love chatting with people, I love talking to people. I’m Italian like I said, so I enjoy feeding people. It just gives me some kind of fulfillment inside when they leave, and they’re happy, and their bellies are full,” Gerlach said.
Gerlach was going through the motions at work, spreading holiday cheer from table to table.
“It was about 7:30, maybe 8 o’clock, so it was like my last table of the evening. It was a couple, a younger couple, and their two younger kids, maybe four or five. Completely normal, you know, nothing out of the ordinary,” Gerlach said.
Suddenly, apropos of nothing, she was given the surprise of her life.
“They left, I said, ‘Merry Christmas, have a wonderful evening.’ They went to leave, I walked in the back,” Gerlach said.
Then one of her tables presented her with a $1,000 tip!
Receipt shows a $1,000 tip. CREDIT: Tracey Gerlach
“Like I said, it was my last table, so I opened the check to put my tip in, and I saw it said a thousand dollars… and I, I had no.. it was unbelievable; like my heart dropped. And I kicked open the kitchen door, and I went running out, and they were just about to walk out the front door… and I inappropriately hugged this woman’s husband for a good 30 seconds,” Gerlach said. “The tears were just, I mean, streaming streaming streaming. I just looked at him, and I said, ” are you serious? are you for real?” and he goes, “100%.” he says, “I want you to have a Merry Christmas, and I think you’re a wonderful person.”
“I was happy for her. I think everybody on the staff would be happy for somebody. You know, obviously, everybody wishes it was them probably but whenever something good happens to somebody here, we’re all happy for that person,” Pharaoh Wheeler, the manager of the restaurant, said.
Gerlach told WINK News she feels blessed and her heart is full.
“And I hope they have a wonderful Christmas, a really wonderful Christmas, and enjoy those children they have; they’re little cutie pies,” Gerlach said.
Everyone at the restaurant is happy for Gerlach, and she plans to pay it forward to other people who can use a little help.