The 10 Applebee’s employees working late into a Sunday night probably had other ideas about how they’d spend an ideal Christmas Eve. They’d probably have preferred to be with family or friends.
But at around 10 or 10:30 p.m., with the night winding down, all 10 of them received an unexpected, heartwarming present. Christmas came a few hours early.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, back in Tampa after a frustrating 22-19 loss to the Carolina Panthers, dropped a $1,000 tip after dining with a few friends at the restaurant. According to reports, Siliga specifically asked the manager how many employees were still working, and made sure each of them got $100.
One of the servers, Elizabeth Reyes, sent ESPN a photo of several employees posing with the cash: “I was completely taken aback,” Reyes told ESPN. “I went and called my boyfriend and was almost in tears. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you won’t believe what just happened.’ It was so awesome.”
To be clear, Siliga never publicized the generosity himself. It found its way onto TMZ a day later, with a photo of the check, which showed a $256.93 tab and then the four-figure tip.
Siliga, a backup on the defensive line, is in his sixth NFL season, with his fourth team. He’s appeared in seven games this year for the Bucs.
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