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Immigrant Restaurant Owner Who Came to US With $20 Stunned by $10,000 Tip

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When Alfonso Brito immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, he and his wife had just $20 to their names — but things have changed for the better since they first crossed the border.

Now a restaurant owner in Salt Lake City, Brito received a huge surprise this week when he and his staff were handed a $10,000 tip by a regular visitor, he recently told KSL-TV.

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“When we moved to America, we had nothing to our names,” said Brito, who opened Monarca, a Mexican restaurant, in 2021. “We had $20 in our pocket, and we started working in the restaurant business as dishwashers.”

The gift he received Sept. 15 is a huge turnaround from what life was like when he first came to America.

Recalling the surprising gesture, Brito said, “They were about to leave and said, ‘Hey, Alfonso, can you come with your crew? We want to thank you, because we had a great time.’ And I said, ‘Of course!'”

The regular customer, there with about 20 others, then surprised the restauranteur and his staff with a massive $10,000 tip.

“He just pulled out of his pocket $10,000 … in 100s,” Brito recalled. “I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock.”

Two of the people who participated in the incredibly kind gesture, Nikisha Timms and Steven Harward, said they and their friends have been giving away $1,000 tips at deserving restaurants in their community and decided to all pool their resources to give a massive gift to the staff at Monarca earlier this month.

Harward said it’s “just such a cool experience to be able to give back a little bit.”

“To see the tears coming down our waiter’s face and how he was just full of gratitude, it was so cool,” added Timms.

As for how the money will be allocated, the group wanted to ensure their server received $2,000. The rest of the cash, they said, was to be split between the employees working that day.

Brito said he was grateful his “amazing” staff were honored for their hard work, adding, “It makes this world, really, a good place because we have these amazing people around who recognize my staff.”

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church