Greg Rubar, 42, has waited tables at D'Amico's Italian Market Cafe in Houston for 16 years. But his car was flooded during a thunderstorm weeks ago and so he had been taking taxis to work and borrowing the restaurant's catering truck from the owners.
But on Saturday, a couple who have been coming to the restaurant for about eight years gave him an envelope of cash to help solve his car troubles.
"He said, 'I'm not going to be giving you a tip for a while. Take this money. Go buy yourself a car,' " Rubar told the Houston Chronicle.
"I'm just humbled by it, that's all," Rubar told Houston's ABC affiliate KTRK.
The couple wishes to remain anonymous.
Rubar's mother, Annetta Rubar-Staff, said her son is a "hard worker" who is on his feet all day at the popular restaurant.
"They just love him because he gives good service to them," she said.
She said her "shy" son has been inundated by the recent media attention because of the gift.
"He's kind of embarrassed because everyone came and talked to him," she said.
His boss is overwhelmed at the generosity of the two customers, KTRK reported.
"And also that we have staff that our customers feel so close to that they could willingly and wantingly do something like that for them," the restaurant's VP Brina D'Amico said.
The money is technically a gift, not a tip, because it was not attached to a bill.
"It's enough money to go buy you a nice car. I didn't even look at it. I was hesitant about it, but he said, 'No you take it and buy you a car!'" Rubar told KTRK. "People can be generous, you know? They told me they felt like I deserved this."
Rubar said he has not seen the couple since they gave him the gift, but he would like to tell them:
"Thank you very, very much. I mean I did need it and I'm gonna buy a car with it; that's what that money's gonna go to - every cent," he said.