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youtube.com/NBC New York
Source: youtube.com/NBC New York

Woman Doesn't Tip and Leaves, Waiter Finds Envelope with a $424,000 Check on Her Table

Salwa Nadeem
May 29, 2022
07:00 A.M.
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When an elderly woman finished eating at an NYC pizzeria, she decided not to tip the waiter because he had failed to impress her. Moments later, the waiter found a $424,000 check on her table.

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Clearing tables, serving food, and cleaning bathrooms in restaurants isn't as easy as it seems. Many people think working as a waiter is an easy job, but that's not entirely true.

The highlight of a waiter's day is when the customers tip them. Often, people reward waiters with an unexpected tip if they really enjoy their service. Something similar happened in today's story, but the waiter didn't want to keep the money.

PIZZA FOR LUNCH

One weekend in May 2019, Karen Vinacour walked inside NYC's famous Patsy's Pizzeria in East Harlem to have lunch with her daughter. As the staff cleared the table for her, she frowned while looking at the pictures on the wall.

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When Armando Markaj, a medical student working as a part-time waiter, came to Vinacour's table to take her order, she asked him why the wall had pictures of men only. She was agitated because the pizzeria's walls didn't feature any women.

Markaj was clueless after hearing her question because he wasn't expecting customers to object to the restaurant's decor. He answered Vinacour's question to the best of his ability but failed to impress her.

Karen Vinacour. | Source: youtube.com/NBC New York

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ENJOYING THEIR FOOD

After Markaj served pizzas on Vinacour's table, she enjoyed every bite of her mouthwatering meal with her daughter. It took them no time to finish the pizza.

Shocked, he immediately informed the pizzeria's owner, Frank Brija, about his strange discovery.

Markaj immediately brought the check and kept it on Vinacour's table with a smile on his face. He went to serve other customers while Vinacour paid for the food and left the restaurant.

Armando Markaj. | Source: youtube.com/PIX11News

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THE ENVELOPE

Once Markaj finished serving pizzas, he returned to the table Vinacour was seated on and started clearing it. What caught his attention was a folded envelope sitting on the table.

Instead of immediately discarding it, he decided to open it. His eyes widened when he saw a bank check inside it. He recalled:

"I just pulled up the flap, and I saw 'Citibank' and thought it was important, so I ran out to the street to look for her, but she was gone."

Armando Markaj. | Source: youtube.com/PIX11News

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THE CHECK

When Markaj realized Vinacour had left, he opened the envelope and pulled out the check. To his surprise, Vinacour had left $424,000 on the restaurant's table. Shocked, he immediately informed the pizzeria's owner, Frank Brija, about his strange discovery. Brija said:

"We thought for sure it was a billionaire or something who came in here because who walks around with a check like that?"

Brija intended to return the fat bank check to Vinacour, but he didn't know how to contact her. He asked his son to search for her name on Google, but they couldn't find her. Vinacour, on the other hand, had no idea she had accidentally left her life savings at Patsy's Pizzeria.

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Frank Brija. | Source: youtube.com/NBC New York

THE NEXT DAY

Vinacour had stopped by the pizzeria to have lunch with her daughter on Saturday on their way back from a condo they intended to buy. Vinacour had taken out her documents to re-read them with her daughter when she accidentally dropped the check inside the restaurant.

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It wasn't until Sunday night that she realized her bank check was missing. She ran her hand through every compartment in her purse, to no avail.

Instead of panicking, Vinacour came up with a solution. The following morning, she visited Citibank and asked them to cancel her check. To her horror, the bank staff told her to wait for three months before they could reissue her check. Vinacour recalled:

"I was stunned."

Karen Vinacour. | Source: youtube.com/NBC New York

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THE SEARCH BEGAN

After exiting the bank, Vinacour called her daughter and asked her to search for the check in her house. She also called her real estate broker, but it seemed like Vinacour had dropped it somewhere else.

In hopes of finding her money, Vinacour stopped by the coffee shop that she had visited before going to Patsy's. Unfortunately, she couldn't find her check there.

A few moments later, she received a call from her real-estate broker, telling her the staff at Patsy's said they didn't find any check. Little did she know her real-estate broker had called the wrong Patsy's.

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THE CALL

Feeling hopeless, Vinacour returned home believing she had lost her life savings forever. It wasn't until five days later that she received a call from the Daily News, asking her if she had dropped a bank check worth half a million dollars.

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Brija had approached the news outlet to help him trace Vinacour. A few minutes after receiving the call, Vinacour was relieved to have her bank check in her hands. However, she felt guilty for being rude to Markaj the other day. She said:

"What an amazing young man! He had that option of throwing it [the check] in the garbage because we were not very nice to him."

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A HAPPY ENDING

Vinacour apologized to Markaj and offered him a reward, but he didn't accept it. She had planned to revisit the pizzeria and tip him the next time he served her.

Before leaving the pizzeria, Brija took a photo with her and told her it would soon go up on the wall. She went home with a smile on her face because of Markaj's honesty.

If Markaj and Brija were dishonest, they could have kept the check because Vinacour hadn't returned to the restaurant to get it back. They chose not to, which made them the heroes of today's story.

Click here to find out what happened when a little girl saw a rude customer humiliating a cook at KFC.

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