Bartender’s unexpected death inspires others to leave generous tips for servers

The mysterious message started popping up on social media

Servers throughout Southwest Florida have been receiving bills with “Put it on Pete’s tab” written alongside very generous tips.

The mysterious message started popping up on social media, with some receipts including the phrase as a hashtag.

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The movement was started by the family of Pete O’Brien, a bartender who passed away unexpectedly in March.

According to the Put it On Pete’s Tab foundation, O’Brien was “a big fan of spending too much money at bars and restaurants and leaving tips that usually exceeded 50 [percent].”

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The foundation has managed to donate to 25 families in the Southwest Florida area, and counting.

The foundation has managed to donate to 25 families in the Southwest Florida area, and counting. (iStock)

Honoring his generosity, when the man passed away, O'Brien's family donated the money in his bank accounts to his friends in the hospitality industry who had lost their income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From there, “random conservations led to an idea that we would carry on Pete’s legacy” and a Facebook group was started with the motive to donate what they could to those in need.

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“Within 2 weeks we had over $1000 in donations and 300 members. We officially launched as a registered non profit on May 22nd and surpassed $10,000 in contributions a little over a month later,” the website reads.

The foundation has managed to donate to 25 families in the Southwest Florida area, and counting.

“It turned into its own thing,” Emily Iafrate, O’Brien’s sister, said to NBC-2, of the tips.

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Though people can donate and request assistance directly through the foundation, those inspired by the story of Pete have shown their support by leaving large tips on bills.