Leo's Coney Island workers thankful for regular customers, tips during pandemic

Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 1:28 PM EDT
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(03/20/2020) - A tip, no matter the amount, could go a long way for restaurant employees in times like these.

One man made the day for three Genesee County waitresses during a regular stop by Leo's Coney Island on Court Street in Flint on Thursday.

"He came through the drive-thru, ordered his food. I think his food came to what, $9 and he left us three a $100 tip," said employee Sarah Nicholls.

She, like everyone else, is adjusting to a new normal. Leo's has drive-thru only signs posted on the front lawn, a relatively empty parking lot and a written sign on the door that informs the public that the establishment is doing curbside, drive-thru and carry-out service only as the state looks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"It wasn't too bad until Monday. Once Monday came and all the restaurants had to close down at 3, we were kind of wondering what we were going to do.That's when reality hit," Nicholls said.

It's also a tough reality for employee Courtney Zamora. She is counting on tips to help supplement the loss from business. Then on Thursday, something happened when a customer got a craving for tuna salad.

"He is a regular that comes in a lot. He always takes good care of us -- him and his brother. We appreciate him," Zamora said.

Nicholls, Zamora and one other server will split the tip and embrace that, while the world has changed drastically in a week, people are the same.

"We've been thankful for our regulars. They've helped out a lot. They still continue to support us through the drive-thru," Zamora said. "They're coming for a minute for the carry-out but you know they have to head home."

"Oh that made us feel so blessed. Very blessed," Nicholls said. "We really appreciate him a lot."

Anyone planning to order takeout at Leo's should keep in mind that its operating hours have changed like most places and they should call ahead.