MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: It was a typically busy Saturday inside Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem. Armando Markaj was shuttling pizzas to tabletops, as had many a Saturday for the last 9 years working his way through medical school.
A woman in her 70’s sat down and dined alone. She enjoyed her lunch, but she complained that wall covered with photographs of happy customers featured too few women.
She paid her check and left without leaving a tip. But what she did leave on the table, inadvertently almost bankrupted her.
As Markaj cleaned the table he found an envelope. Inside was a cashier’s check for $424,000.
The restaurant’s owner tracked her down, and she returned days later with tears in her eyes.
She apologized for not tipping and tried to rectify that, but Markaj graciously declined.
MARKAJ: She offered to give me – to tip me, but you know what, I did it for the sake of myself. So I was like, I’m not taking the tip now.
The woman, it turned out, was a retired social worker. The check represented her life savings. It was money for a new house.
It’s The World and Everything in It.