HUTCHINSON, Kansas (AP) -- The regular customer eating dinner at the end of the bar always tipped well -- $15 or so on $30 tabs. The $100 tip two weeks ago was a nice surprise, but the amount he left bartender Cindy Kienow this week left her stunned. On the check, the tip read: $10,000.
"I couldn't move," said Kienow, who tends bar at Applebee's. "I didn't know what to say. He said, 'This will buy you something kind of nice, huh?' And I said, 'Yeah, it will.'"
Kienow said the man, whom restaurant officials have declined to identify, comes in several times a month.
"He usually signs his ticket and flips it upside down," said Kienow, 35, who has worked at the restaurant for eight years. "But this time, he had it right side up and said 'I want you to know this is not a joke."'
The restaurant is in the final stages of verifying that the tip is a valid charge, said Rhodri McNee, vice president of operations for JS Enterprises, owner of the Hutchinson Applebee's.
"Nothing would make us happier than to present her with that check," McNee said. "She's a great employee who does a great job."
Just small talk
Kienow said that while she always talks with the man when he comes in -- usually about current events or the weather -- she can't think of anything that would have prompted the huge tip. His tab for the night had been only $26.
"We'd just talk across the bar. He's a really nice guy. I hope he comes back in so I can tell him thank you, because the other day I was kind of dumbfounded," she said.
"I'd like to take care of my parents, since they always took care of me," she said. "But I feel like he wanted me to buy something for myself, and there's a Jeep that I've had my eye on for a while."