By: Max Sullivan, Seacoastonline.com
HAMPTON – It was a $61.07 lunch tab for a couple rum runners and a sandwich with fries. The amount on the tip line read $1,000.
“I cried,” said L Street Tavern server and bartender Justine Barnes, who got the tip Dec. 14 while working her day shift. It came from a regular who confided to Barnes during her lunch that her ex-husband had recently died by suicide. Barnes said she, too, had lost her boyfriend to suicide 12 years ago.
The tip came right when Barnes said she needed it. She said she was struggling to afford Christmas gifts, and two weeks ago she was in a car crash that forced her to pay for expensive repairs.
“It provided Christmas presents for my kids,” said Barnes. Mikey, 17, got the computer monitor he had been hoping for, while 19-year-old Haley got the hair straightener she wanted, along with clothes, shoes and things for their bedroom.
L Street owner Jake Magro said Barnes’ tip was the biggest he has ever seen a customer get. He said he has seen many customers give generous tips this season given the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry. He said the tavern has tried to return that generosity this season by donating to the Seacoast Firefighters Toy Bank.
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