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.
“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.
“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.