GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — A couple has managed to leave multiple $1,000 tips for staff at local restaurants all by asking online friends and family to pitch in for a community tip.
Eirann Betka-Pope and their wife Jenna have long believed in the power of bringing people together to accomplish more. Running their own production company, Betka-Pope Productions, they organize unique social events and projects designed to bring about new sorts of interactions.
Through the pandemic, they have tried to support as many West Michigan restaurants as possible.
“We love to go out to eat, or take-out as we've been doing the last few months, and so, as soon as we found out that GR Noir was open, we knew we wanted to go join them,” Betka-Pope told FOX 17 Tuesday.
GR Noir is a new wine-and-jazz bar that held its grand opening Monday evening.
“We processed as a staff last night…and everyone was just in shock of the support,” Shatawn Brigham, co-owner of GR Noir, said Tuesday.
Betka-Pope and their wife Jenna were luckily able to score the last available reservation at GR Noir for their big opening night. When they decided to go, they knew they wanted to leave a meaningful tip for the staff. Unfortunately their funds were a little low.
“I find that when I'm feeling down, the best thing to do is gather community together,” Betka-Pope said.
And so they posted a note on Facebook, asking friends and family all over if they would be interested in contributing to a massive community tip.
“I got $1 donations, we had a couple of $50 donations, and a lot of them came from friends in the service industry,” Betka-Pope said.
When they finished their wine and charcuterie board, they were able to leave a $1,000 tip.
“I let the server know; I said, 'We've been doing these community tips and people wanted to support you; they wanted to see you open successfully,'” Betka-Pope said.
It left the staff at a loss for words, appreciative at the display of support from throughout their community.
“I was speechless for about 15 minutes,” Brigham told FOX 17.
“It reminds us that, you know, there are some good people.”
It’s something that Betka-Pope and their wife hope to do several more times in the near future.
“They deserve to have a great night,” they said.
“Twenty-five percent capacity isn't going to send people home with a lot, and so knowing that they made what they deserved on a night like that--it was super special to see.”
And this isn’t even the first time they have been able to leave one of these big community tips.
They were able to give $200 to staff at Jude’s Barbershop in Easton after a break-in and another $1,000 to the folks at Mitten Brewing Company.
They used the same technique of asking friends and family online to contribute.
You can check out Betka-Pope Productions’ Facebook page for more information about the exciting plans they have for the coming months.
They encourage everyone else out in West Michigan to try something similar in their own neighborhoods.
“If you have an idea; if you want to do something, not just don't be afraid to ask your community, I encourage you to ask your community,” they said.
“There's ways that we can still feel humanity when it's hard and icy right now.”
You can find out more information about GR Noir Wine and Jazz at their website and Facebook page.