What would you do if you found some lost money – and you knew who had lost it?
Most of us feel like it’s okay to pocket a note that’s been left on an empty bench or on the floor, but it’s a different story when you can connect that cash to a person.
One waiter was faced with the ultimate dilemma when a customer refused to leave him a tip – then accidentally left an envelope containing a check on $424,000.
Armando Markaj has been a waiter at Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem for 10 years.
Unfortunately, as is the case for most waiters, Armando was used to customers not leaving him a tip.
So when a woman came in for lunch, seemed to enjoy her food, and refused to leave any cash for the service she’d received, it wasn’t an unusual circumstance.
What was unusual, however, was her reason for not leaving a tip.
According to Armando, the women had been upset to see that the pizzeria’s photo wall didn’t have enough women on it.
Armando had no idea how to react, so he joked, “Maybe women don’t eat pizza”, then walked away from her table.
Triggered by Armando’s attempt to lighten the situation, the woman left the table with a note written on the bill: “Well, women don’t tip either”.
Brushing off the incident, Armando began to clean the woman’s table – and that’s when he found the envelope.
After the woman’s unpleasantness, when Armando discovered the check for nearly half a million in the envelope, he said he had considered just trashing it. But, he added:
“When I opened it, it said Citibank. I thought it was something important.”
So, instead of taking payback for the woman’s refusal to tip him, Armando chose to do the right thing: he took the check to the owner of the store, Frank.
In nearly 90 years of business, Frank’s small pizza business had never had a customer leave something like this behind.
The check, as it turned out, belonged to a woman called Karen Vinacour, a retired social worker. She had actually called Patsy’s after retracing her steps, without realizing she’d called the wrong location.
Karen became frantic after learning from her bank that it would take three months to reissue her another check, but she didn’t know where else she could look.
But luckily, the restaurant staff had already decided to track her down.
It eventually transpired that the check Karen had been carrying was her entire life’s savings, which she had been using to buy a home.
When Karen returned to the restaurant, she was nervous and crying. She apologized to Armando and offered to tip him, but he said:
“You know what? I did it for the sake of myself. So, I was like, ‘I’m not taking the tip now.'”
A reporter from PIX11 News spoke to Karen, who said she had had a very stressful day.
She reportedly regrets not tipping Armando, but she’s incredibly grateful that he had it in him to do the right thing.
Karen actually thinks she and Armando will be friends for life, which is a clear teller of what a kind, forgiving heart the waiter must have.
You can watch a video with a more in-depth interview with Karen just below.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.