Terminally Ill Tennessee Man Leaves $1,000 Tip, Pays for Other Guests in Restaurant

by Jon D. B.

One terminally ill Tennessee man has made it his mission to spread generosity for his death – and he’s starting with a Gatlinburg restaurant.

Ever been to Burg Steakhouse in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains? It’s a staple of Gatlinburg, where tourists flock annually to escape into the town’s one-of-a-kind, southern chalet atmosphere. Chances are, however, that you didn’t tip the same as this man upon leaving his dining experience.

This past Saturday, Burg was in the throws of another busy, rushing weekend. Consumers are back in restaurants as the COVID-19 vaccines roll out, and businesses are already seeing results.

Burg’s head server, Ashley Rackstraw, tells ABC via WATE that even weekdays are “always busy.” Saturday, however, was one work day she’ll never forget.

“It started pretty much like any other Saturday would,” Rackstraw continues. “You know, we filled up as soon as we opened the doors, and we were busy until we closed the doors.”

It was during this rush that WATE reports a Tennessee man and his daughter came in to dine around lunchtime. They must’ve enjoyed all the restaurant had to offer, too, because the pair was back in no time for dinner.

“He wanted to have a good time in Gatlinburg,” adds Burg Steakhouse’s co-owner, Michele Stanga, to the station. “[He] brought his daughter, he came for lunch and returned for dinner, and he surprised the staff with leaving a $1,000 tip.”

Tennessee Man Spreads Joy With Last Days

Yes, $1,000! The gentleman, who is asking to remain anonymous, left a full grand tip for Burg’s waiting staff. Then, on top of that, he paid for two other tables’ full experience. Burg Steakhouse is a tip-sharing venture, too, so the $1,000 became $40 for every member of the staff.

“It was a humbling moment,” head server Rackstraw lauds of the Tennessee man’s generosity. “I’m just wanting to thank him… Like, all I’m wanting to do is go up to him and give him a hug and tell him ‘thank you.’ That was like really generous of him,” she continues.

WATE notes that the gentleman is, unfortunately, terminally ill. In turn, he told the steakhouse’s staff that he “wanted to spend his money on other people before he died.”

“There’s surprises everywhere,” fellow co-owner Byron Stanga tells WATE.

The $1,000 and paid meals come as many restaurant owners and staff are still feeling the sting of COVID-19 restrictions – and the resulting absence of patrons. It was a beyond welcomed surprise for Tennessee‘s Burg Steakhouse, one its staff – and the mysterious gentleman – will remember for the rest of their lives.