It’s not often that I get to write good news about my home state of Florida, which is fair because good news so infrequently comes out of the hellhole (said with love) that is the Sunshine State. However, when we’re not busy derailing the course of democracy, eating people’s faces, or shaving our legs in public pools, it turns out that Floridians do, in fact, have some good left in them. Or, at least, this one man does.
A diner at a restaurant in Naples, Florida left a $10,000 tip after finishing a meal recently, just before the restaurant was ordered to close to the public, along with all other public dining rooms in the state, by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Ross Edlund, the owner of the restaurant, said he believes the man’s name is Bill or Bob, although he can’t quite remember, and is a regular patron. “It’s funny because we have regulars who have been coming in forever,” Edlund said, “and they’re our friends but we don’t always know their names. We know their faces, their orders, their favorite tables, but we don’t know exactly who they are.” I have friends who describe some of the people they’re dating in much the same way, although none of their gentlemen callers seem nearly as generous as Bill. Or was it Bob?
Either way, the generosity of the nearly-anonymous Florida man allowed the 20 person staff of the restaurant to each walk home with five-hundred extra dollars that night, nearly half of what the government has promised in relief checks for (some of) the American public.
I’ve previously described Florida as a place where you ride reverse cowgirl on an alligator, whilst shooting roman candles off into the balmy night air drinking a Mikes Hard Lemonade, and I still pretty much stand by that description. But, as with anywhere, it’s also a place that is filled with a lot of people who are doing their best to do their best right now, and Bill, or Bob, has made me proud to be from where I am.
I’ll be honest, the next time you read a headline about a Florida man, it’s likely to be about something much, much less inspirational, so let me take what will likely be the only opportunity I will ever have to write this sentence. To the best of our abilities right now, let’s all try and be like this Florida man, if not in financial generosity, then at least in spirit. I certainly don’t have 10k to hand out at the moment, but I can do the best with what I’ve got.