(ABC News) -- New Jersey bartender Christina Summitt was prepared to sell her car after a vet told her dog needed costly surgery — until a charitable couple left her a $1,000 tip that night.
Summitt and her sister bartend together at a Holiday Inn in Clinton, N.J., and both were working last Saturday when a couple came in, ordered drinks and chicken wings, and struck up a conversation about the paw print tattoos on Summitt’s wrist.
She told them that she is a dog lover, that she volunteers with animals, and that earlier that day, she found out that she needed to pay for surgery to remove an unusual mass from her 3-year-old dog Tucker’s stomach.
Soon after the couple heard this, they asked for the check. They paid with a card. And as they were leaving, Summitt took the receipt back behind the bar and looked at the tip.
“I opened the check and I said ‘Holy s—,’” she said. “I’m sorry for the language, but anyone would look at that and say it. I grabbed my sister like I was saving her from a building and made her look at it. And she said ‘Holy s—,’ too.”
Summitt said she ran after the couple to give them their money back, thinking it was a mistake, but the man just smiled calmly and said, “Don’t you worry about it.”
“There was no sweat off his back, like he just handed me a twenty,” Summitt said. “I said ‘I can’t accept it.’ And he said ‘oh, you’ll accept it’ … And by this point in the conversation I was crying. I probably said thank you a thousand times. He just gave me a pound on the fist and said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I do stuff like this all the time.’”
The man, Summitt found out, was a bit of a rich, charitable Robin Hood. He once bought everyone in a Best Buy a flat screen TV just for the fun of making their day, he told Summitt. And then the couple left, after giving Summitt’s sister and the doorman large tips, too.
Shortly after, the manager of the hotel gave him a call.
“I had to track him down, with all the fraud going down, I had to make sure it was a genuine transaction,” Michelle Satinik said. “We had a wonderful conversation — he said he wanted to remain anonymous. After we got all this media attention I called him back and asked, ‘Still want to stay anonymous?’ He said yes.”
Tucker got surgery shortly after. It turned out the unusual mass was a small ball the dog had swallowed — something that could have seriously injured or killed the dog without the surgery.
The great Dane/black Lab mix is now on medication and recovering well, though Summitt is struggling to pay off his complete surgical costs, which came to nearly $3,000. But she’s hopeful she can do it, working seven days a week and with an empty bank account.
“The most important part of this story is that you don’t have to be well off like this gentleman to live your life this way,” Summitt said. “We have to take care of each other — because if we don’t, who else is going to?”