Thursday 23 November 2017

Lucky $100,000 tip for waitresses in Irish bar in New York City

Maureen Donohue-Peters (53), who was left $50,000 by art dealer Robert Ellsworth
Maureen Donohue-Peters (53), who was left $50,000 by art dealer Robert Ellsworth

Brian Byrne

It's a city where Irish bars are a dime a dozen, but only Donohue's on New York's upper east side can say it got a $100,000 (€88,000) tip.

The cosy establishment - which is run by an Irish-American family with roots in Galway - couldn't believe it when they learned after a long-time customer left the unprecedented 'Thank you' in his will.

Millionaire art collector Robert Ellsworth gave $50,000 ($44,000) to owner Maureen Donohue-Peters (53), and another $50,000 to her niece, Maureen Barrie (28), who works at the bar as a waitress one night a week.

Mr Ellsworth, who passed away at the age of 85 after suffering a fall, ate at the bar's 1950s-style diner four days a week, where his favourites were a grilled cheese sandwich or omelette for lunch, and steak for dinner.

"I got a call from his office and they said Mr Ellsworth had left me something. Then a lady came in and she showed me the paperwork. I was shocked - I didn't expect anything," said Ms Donohue-Peters, who is planning to upgrade her boat.

"The man was witty and fun. He knew me when I was in diapers, so there's a whole history there. To me, he was Bob. He wasn't Mr Ellsworth, this big guy."

The Asian art collector wasn't the only familiar face to frequent the bar on Manhattan's Lexington Avenue.

"Bruce Springsteen has been in, as well as Jimmy Fallon and Gabriel Byrne. I didn't talk to Bruce too much, I really didn't know it was him. Then all of a sudden he got up to leave and came over to talk to me and I was like, 'Woah, that's who he is'," she said.

Despite the high calibre of regular customers, their faces are not plastered all over the walls. "Going here is like coming home to family. It doesn't matter what you do or what you make," she said.

Irish Independent

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