Saturday morning started out as just another day of work for Butters server and manager Lucia Morales.
When a group of 11 men sat down at a table, she said her first thought was she needed to take care of them because she would want them to come back.
“I wasn’t stressed. I love serving. The best thing I want to do is give them my full attention,” Morales said. “That’s the only thing I was stressed about.”
Morales served the table their food and drinks. When it came time to pay, the meals were all put on one check. As the men got up to leave, one pulled a Christmas card out of his back pocket and handed it to Morales.
“This is for you guys. Merry Christmas,” he said.
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Morales took the card back to the counter and opened it, surrounded by her staff.
“We hope this makes your holiday season extra special! Shock & Claus 2019,” the card read, accompanied with $1,100 cash.
Morales said she was shocked. The staff exchanged glances and started cheering. They yelled “Thank you!” to the men as they walked out of the restaurant.
“I had no idea,” she said.
Morales immediately calculated the number of Butter’s employees, 12, and divided the $1,100 by 12. Each employee received $91. She didn’t think twice about keeping the money all to herself.
“At first, I was thinking about just splitting it between servers and front of house, but the cooks are a big part of this restaurant,” she said. “I believed they needed some, too. They work harder most of the time.”
Shock and Claus
The large tip was a part of Shock and Claus, a national trend that encourages friends to team up, go out to eat during the holiday season and each tip $100.
Tom Schachet, principal for Poudre School District Mountain schools, coordinated Saturday’s breakfast.
“We just hope to make someone’s holiday a bit easier,” he said. “I picture someone being able to do something extra, take a little vacation or buy some new gifts.”
He said each time he asked a friend if they would be interested in joining, they were instantly on board. This is Schachet’s third year coordinating a Shock and Claus meal.
“Everyone jumped on,” he said.
Morales said she will use the money to buy her 3-year-old daughter a Christmas present.
“It means a lot. This time of the year is when we struggle the most, especially buying Christmas presents for my daughter and for everyone at home,” she said.
Morales did add she will likely buy herself a little gift, too.
Morales said the gift will keep her staff going through the season. She agreed it puts people in a “Christmas cheer.”
“It gives us hope that there’s good people out there and that people actually care that we’re working hard,” she said.
“It gives us a lesson to treat people better and be more attentive. To have more joy in our job and in our work,” she added.
Morales and her staff were equally thankful. She said the cooks who got a cut were initially confused when she handed them $91, because they aren’t part of the tip share.
“Everyone in the kitchen was like, ‘What? What’s going on?’ They were really, really excited, and they were really thankful,” Morales said.
Morales said even if the lofty tip was given to just her, she still wouldn’t have kept it all for herself.
If anything, Schachet is hopeful others will be inspired to start their own Shock and Claus.
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