FORT WORTH (CBS11) – On what is traditionally its busiest night of the week, Sweet Sammies only had one paying customer.
Saturday night, a man the Fort Worth ice cream shop identified as “Mr. Gary,” racked up a $1,300 bill by picking up strangers’ tabs.
“He stood here all night and bought everyone’s ice-cream until we closed,” said shop owner Kory Close.
“He came in and actually bought a water,” said manager Darell Cook.
“He said, ‘You know what, I’m going to pay for everybody’s food that’s in here.”
According to Cook, the customer was originally going to cap his gesture at $100, but his generosity kept growing. For nearly three hours, treats were on him.
Security camera video captures customers showing the man their gratitude with hugs. Some even asked him to pose for photos.
“Mr. Gary” also gave each employee a $100 tip. It was a welcome act of gratitude for Cook, who will be welcoming his first child soon.
“I’ve got a baby on the way, so might [use it] for diapers and formula.” Cook said.
Sweet Sammies shared an Instagram photo of happy employees posing next to “Mr. Gary” and a 7-foot-long receipt, along with the caption “Sweet. Sammies. History!”
What would motivate such a generous act? Maybe just good old fashioned customer service.
“We validated a [parking] ticket generously. he said, which opened him up to doing what he ended up doing.” Close explains.
In West 7th, parking is free only when a ticket is validated by a West 7th merchant. Otherwise, the flat rate is $20.
“He came in here, he seemed like he was in a rush, so I just went ahead and validated it for him,” said Cook.
Just before closing time, Close asked the manager to put Mr. Gary on the phone so he could personally thank him for his act of kindness.
“You’re a Sweet Sammies legend,” Close remembers telling him.
The security camera video shows each employee giving Mr. Gary a hug before he exits the building.
“I teared up a little bit, to see my employees give him a hug,” admits Close.
“A little more gratitude for each other goes a long way.”