Not all was well in Christina Summitt's world as she began her Saturday shift tending bar at the Holiday Inn in Clifton, New Jersey.
First of all, the 37-year-old works — a lot. Besides her weekend bartending gig, she also logs full-time hours as the hotel's chef during the week and does food prep two days a week at her hometown deli.
With three stepchildren in tow, Summitt also volunteers for a pit bull rescue group and does what she can to find homes for all sorts of animals.
So it was with a heavy heart that she began greeting customers that evening — Tucker, her beloved 3-year-old Great Dane-black Labrador mix was at the veterinary hospital after having undergone emergency surgery that morning. He swallowed a tennis ball, which had to be removed from his small intestine.
Summitt has a paw print tattoo on her wrist, which sometimes gives way to chats about pets and animals, CNN noted — which is what happened when a couple struck up a conversation with her that night, and the concerned owner relayed Tucker's mishap.
The man mentioned to Summitt the obvious — that emergency vet surgery is expensive — and she noted that indeed it was: $2,700.
[sharequote align="center"]"I didn't have the money for surgery but what am I gonna do? Let my dog die?"[/sharequote]
"I didn't have the money for surgery but what am I gonna do? Let my dog die? No!" Summitt later shared on Facebook, adding that she'd sell her car if it meant saving Tucker, adopted in 2011.
So the couple ordered drinks and dinner at the bar. When they were done, Summitt brought them their $80.26 check.
Then Summitt noticed something decidedly odd after she returned to pick up their check and took a gander at it.
Her tip was $1,000.
Dumbfounded, she showed the bill to her sister who tends bar with her just to make sure her eyes weren't fooling her.
"As I cried my eyes out, I told them I could not take this tip," Summitt recalled. "He would not take no for an answer," adding that he insisted she use the funds to help pay for the surgery.
"And we will pray for Tucker," Summitt said they added.
"I just stood there in shock. I walked around and hugged this couple," Summitt told CNN.
Hotel manager Michelle Satanik told CNN she contacted her comptroller as well as the customer and verified that the tip amount was legitimate.
"Apparently this man does this quite frequently. Just a really nice guy and humanitarian," Satanik said. "I have never ever seen a $1,000 tip like that."
Summitt related her story on a Facebook page ironically titled "Why Bartenders and Servers Hate People" on Easter Sunday accompanied by this preface: "This is a place for us to vent but every so often, especially on holidays, we have to be thankful for the amazing customers that are out there."
And Tucker? He's already home and on the road to recovery.