Wealthy Art Collector Gives Each Of His Favorite Waitresses A $50,000 Tip

A wealthy art collector has given each of two of his favorite waitresses a $50,000 tip – albeit from beyond the grave, Art Net News is reporting.

Robert Ellsworth died in August 2014 at the age of 85, leaving behind a fortune worth, by some estimates, as much as $200 million. He was also a regular at Donohue’s Steak House – a tony restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Regulars say he ate as often as seven times per week at the restaurant every week for decades, having a grilled cheese for lunch and coming back for a steak for supper, washing it down with Jim Beam bourbon, according to The New York Post.

“Out of eight meals, he ate seven here. We were his dining room.”

Worker Juan Carlos Padiloa said the friendly millionaire always tipped generously when he was alive.

“He would always tip 20 percent. He never even looked at the bill.”

Waitress Maureen Donohue-Peters said that she grew up watching the kind millionaire come into the restaurant, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, for decades. So much so that he became a part of her family.

“I had known him for 53 years ­— my entire life.”

Maureen’s niece, Maureen Barrie, also had nothing but good things to say about the millionaire art collector.

“He was a wonderful man and a dear friend.”

When he died last August, Ellsworth left each of his favorite waitresses a $50,000 tip – money neither of them were expecting, says Donohue-Peters.

“I was shocked. “I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect anything.”

Oddly enough, Mr. Ellsworth never seemed to have bothered to learn the last names of the two waitresses he so generously tipped from beyond the grave: his will refers to the two women as “Maureen at Donohue’s” and “Maureen-at-Dononhue’s Niece Maureen.”

Robert Elssworth never graduated high school, but nevertheless had a knack for dealing in art – a knack that he parlayed into a $200 million fortune by the time he died. Specifically, his fondness for Asian art earned him the nickname “The King of Ming.” His collection was the talk of New York art collectors: a rug in his apartment came from the Emperor’s quarters in Beijing’s Forbidden Palace.

The lion’s share of Ellswoth’s estate will go to his lifelong friend and live-in chef, Masahiro Hashiguchi, who will get $10 million. The rest will be split up between various relatives, friends, and employees – including $50,000 each to two favorite waitresses whose last names he never bothered to learn.

[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Garsya]