A regular at The Brief Encounter Cafe in Bellevue, Washington, gave the staff an encounter they'd never forget.
Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of assisting-living company Aegis Living, frequents the restaurant with his wife on weekends. According to WTLX, the staff describes him as a low-key guy who orders the same breakfast and sits at the same table.
Clark enjoyed his usual routine on the morning of Dec. 16. When waitress Julie Welsand went to collect his check, she and the rest of the staff thought it must have been a mistake. Clark had left a $3,000 tip on a $39 bill.
The Daily Mail reports that Clark left his phone number in case the staffers or bank had any doubt over his generous 7,770 percent markup on his tip. If that wasn't enough to sway skepticism, he scrawled a message on the back of the check to make his intentions crystal clear.
"You guys do a great job!" he wrote. "When I was 7, I washed dishes and my mom cooked in a diner like this. We were dirt poor and didn't have money for Christmas. Hopefully, this will help all of you have a better Christmas."
The Daily Mail reports that some were left in tears, saying the money was much appreciated this season.
"At first, they didn't know who it was," said diner owner Melanie Bard to ABC News. She added that he's been a "great customer" over the past eight years.
According to ABC News, each of the 12 staff members will receive $250 just in time for the holiday season.
Clark said it wasn't about the money for him, but rather the sentiment of rewarding hard-working individuals for all they do.
"You don't have to give money," he said of the large tip. "You can write appreciative notes and say thank you. It would go a long way to nourish all of us."
The Aegis mogul also seemed to connect with the servers on a personal level.
"[I wanted to] do something in appreciation of my mother, who's not with us anymore, and because of the Christmas season," he explained. "I saw how hard my mom worked for people who weren't always appreciative."
Clark said that his mother had worked in the food service industry to support him and her three other children since they were little. Her hard work eventually put each and every one of them through college.