By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4)– The “Shock and Claus” concept, where a group of diners spread the Christmas spirit by surprising a server with a massive and unexpected tip, happened again Friday morning in west Denver at a Village Inn restaurant.

Eight diners sat down for breakfast at the Village Inn at 4850 Federal Blvd. But when their bill came, instead of just paying their tab and leaving a 15 percent tip, each customer left an additional $100 tip for their waiter, Cal, who was stunned by the $800 gratuity.

(credit: CBS)

“He was so gracious and I think in shock,” said Rebecca Gart, one of the organizers. “It was magical. It was truly in the spirit of the season.”

She said this morning’s event was inspired by a previous Shock and Claus event reported by CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass.

(credit: CBS)

The underground movement has been occurring in the Denver metro area since 2015 with groups of diners surprising restaurant servers with massive tips as part of the holiday spirit. It started with a group of Denver businessmen who simply wanted to be better people and be better members of the community.

One of those original organizers, Dudley Morton, said “We live in a day and age where we don’t always hear good news and if we can inspire some people through what we are doing to do nice things for other people, that’s amazing.”

(credit: CBS)

Gart said after surprising their waiter with the outsize tip, the group wanted to do more. So they dug back into their wallets and purses and came up with another $700 that they spread among kitchen employees and support staff.

She told CBS4 the Village Inn employees were “crying and laughing and hugging all of us.” She said the holiday windfall came at a good time for one worker who said her grandmother just had surgery so she couldn’t work many shifts.

“It was the best way to start a Friday that I can remember,” said Gart.

Brian Maass

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