Veteran Buys $20k Bourbon For $40k To Help Restaurant Workers During Pandemic

Bourbon & Banter / Facebook

Just a couple of months ago Datz Restaurant Group in Tampa, Florida went from having around 400 employees to just 27 due to COVID-19 virtually shutting down the restaurant industry.

Suzanne and Roger Perry, the couple who owns the business, were struggling and beginning to run out of money to keep the remaining staff paid, so they started thinking of what they could do to keep the business afloat.

Looking through their restaurant’s inventory they found their most valuable item was a 25-year-old bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon. Suzanne got online and Googled the price and saw it was selling from $17,000 to $26,000.

She put her bottle up for sale for $20,000 and offered a 15% discount for someone purchasing it online. Offers for the bottle began rolling in but all of them were people offering much less than $17,000.

“I was selling it in order to maintain my staff for a few more weeks until we can get through this and figure it out so I didn’t entertain any of those low-ball offers,” Suzanne told CNN.

Old Rip Van Winkle 25 Year Bourbon. Bottle #353/710 #bourbonporn #vanwinkle #notforsale

Posted by Park Plaza Liquor and Deli on Friday, May 5, 2017

Then they got a call from a couple who often ate at the restaurant and were looking to add the bottle to their collection. They wanted to purchase it, however, they didn’t want to buy it online, they wanted to buy it in person with a cashiers check. They agreed to meet the next morning.

The couple drove over and handed Suzanne and Roger the check and they gave the couple the bottle. Suzanne looked down at the check and noticed it wasn’t for the agreed upon $17,000 but instead had $40,000 written on the check. They thought it was a mistake and tried to give the check back but the man told them he wanted them to keep it.

“I was so moved by that,” Suzanne said. “It was really touching that someone would reach so far into their own pocket to help us survive this.”

The man wanted to remain anonymous but said he was a veteran and a philanthropist. Roger and Suzanne said the extra $23,000 on top of the $17,000 was going to keep the restaurant up and running and they’ll be able to pay their employees for another four weeks.

They also used the money to make hundreds of meals for local health care workers and mentioned that after the crisis she’ll make sure she repays the bourbon buyer back for his generosity.