'Goosebumps and butterflies': Customer leaves $500 tip and gives $1000 gift to Ottawa restaurant

A patron of the Wellington Diner in Ottawa left a $500 tip on a bill of $64.70 and gave the owner $1000 to show his appreciation. (Photo courtesy: The Wellington Diner / Twitter)

An Ottawa restaurant owner says one of his regular customers left him with "goosebumps" after a meal, by leaving behind a large gift.

On Monday, Jeff Frost, owner of the Wellington Diner, said a customer had tipped his server $500 on a $64.70 bill, leaving the server in tears.

But that wasn't all.

The customer, whom Frost described as a regular and a Canadian military service member, gave Frost a gift of $1000 in cash.

Like many restaurants, the Wellington Diner has been dealing with the challenges of running a business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to CTV News Ottawa on Monday, Frost said he'll be sharing the financial gift with staff who have worked tirelessly during the lockdown.

"I had goosebumps all over my body; I had butterflies in my stomach; I almost felt like crying because I just connected with somebody on a level that you rarely get to do," he said. "We did the elbow bump because that was the closest I could get to hugging him."

Frost said he's been struggling during the pandemic, but the donation put a spring in his step.

"It put a spark in me, it did, because I’ve been depressed. I’ve been dealing with mental health issues. All my colleagues in this industry have undoubtedly gone through the same," he said. "This has ignited me to really have more passion and channel that passion back in my restaurant, and especially the city of Ottawa."

The generous customer wishes to remain anonymous.

"He just thanked us for going through what we had to go through and for being open again," Frost said. "He told me, 'Share it with your staff and yourself if you need it.' I told him that it would go to the staff and we would divide it up amongst the staff that really trooped through and stayed with us through the lockdown."

Ottawa Ready for a Great Local Feel Good Story?!
An Amazing Citizen, Diner Regular, Canadian Military Servicemen & Obviously a very caring Small Business Local ����
This anonymous patron left $1000.00 cash & a $500 tip to be shared w/ the Diner Lockdown Staff. Staff are touched! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/l3AmxTkXWV

— the wellington diner (@wellingtondiner) July 13, 2020