A RESTAURANT was left fighting for its life after a customer left a generous £2,400 tip for one of its employees.
Alfredo's Cafe waitress Mariana Lambert could not believe her eyes when a stop-in diner decided to tip her thousands on a £10 order of stromboli.
Staff at the restaurant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, were understandably suspicious at the time but the transaction eventually went through.
And Mariana's dreams became true when her employers paid her the tip in full.
"It really meant a lot to me because everyone's going through stuff," said Mariana. "It really touched my heart. I still can't believe it. I'm still in shock."
However, the dream come true very quickly became the nightmare from hell as the restaurant decided to take the man to court.
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According to Best Life, Eric Smith allegedly said he was leaving the payment as part of a social media movement called Tips for Jesus.
But just a few weeks later, Alfredo's Cafe manager Zachary Jacobson, received an unexpected letter through the post.
He explained to WNEP: “A little over a month ago, we received something in the mail that Eric was disputing the charge for the tip that he left.
"We thought somebody was actually trying to do a good thing. And then now we are, what, three months later? Not even, and there's nothing. There's nothing to show for it at this point."
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Alfredo and his staff were holding out hope that it had all been just a big misunderstanding when they reached out to Eric about the letter.
And having already paid Mariana the tip, they were not in a position to send it straight back.
Nonetheless, they eventually got in contact with Eric but with things beginning to escalate, the restaurant stopped replying and planned to take him to court.
"It's just a little aggravating right now. It's been causing a lot of nonsense and drama," said Zachary.
"Unfortunately, we had to file charges through the magistrate's office because now we're just out of this money at this point. And he told us to sue him. So that's what we're going to end up doing, I guess."
He added that he hopes Alfredo's will come out on top in court, but noted that whatever happens, the situation has been tarnished for good.
A once in a lifetime moment for a hard-working waitress and a welcome piece of PR for a small business has simply gone down the drain.
"I hope that he owns up to his actions and comes forth and does pay this because you shouldn't have done this if this was the end result," Zachary said.
An update is yet to be provided on the situation since coming to light 12 months ago.
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