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Yellowknife

Two servers at Yellowknife restaurant given $1,000 tips, days apart


Two servers at the same Yellowknife restaurant have each received thousand-dollar tips from customers in what the establishment’s owner called a “Christmas miracle.”

Goliah Makletzoff-Cazon was handed a $1,000 tip when a customer paid their bill at Stake restaurant on Saturday. Teala Gonzalez was presented with a Christmas card containing $1,000 in cash on Tuesday.

“I started to cry,” said Gonzalez of the moment nine women at one table handed her the card and she discovered the cash.

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“They were so nice the whole night. That’s what they said they do every year: they get together, they pick a random server who is deserving, and they give them a Christmas gift.”

Last year, the lucky recipient was a Chateau Nova Hotel server.

This year, lightning struck twice in four days – apparently from completely separate customers, though their identities aren’t being revealed.

Makletzoff-Cazon described being rushed off her feet working five tables at Stake on Saturday evening when a man came to pay his table’s bill.

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“It wasn’t a very big bill or anything like that,” she said.

“I left the table and looked at the receipt and I was like: this has to be a mistake. I went back and asked him about it, and he was like, no, it’s not a mistake. This is for you. Merry Christmas.

“I started crying, I hugged him, and then they left. It was intense. High emotions.”

Gonzalez also had a busy shift on Tuesday with just two servers working, but she found time to chat with the table of nine as they prepared to leave.

“I’m a nursing student and they were just talking to me about the school year,” she recalled.

“One lady said ‘Merry Christmas’ and handed me an envelope. I opened it and it was this Christmas card with cash in there. I closed it quickly – I didn’t really know what was going on, to be honest.

“They said, ‘This is for you.’ I started to get emotional. They said it wasn’t a tip but a gift.”

For Gonzalez, it’s a surprising end to a hard year.

“That kind of stuff never happens to me,” she said. “It’s been a really tough year doing school online and trying to work as much as I can, but with Covid and stuff it’s been challenging. I had already been laid off from part-time jobs.

“I can’t be more grateful. A lot of it is definitely going to go toward my school – but I think one or two things might be purchased for myself. They made it very clear that I needed to do something nice for myself with at least some of that money.”

Jen Vornbrock, co-owner of Stake and the adjoining Monkey Tree Pub, called the news a “feel-good Christmas miracle moment.”

And for it to happen twice within a week? “That’s just wild,” said Makletzoff-Cazon, who has worked full-time at Stake for two months.

She plans to put the money toward her student loan and some toward Christmas gifts.

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