Making Mealtime Meaningful: See How We’re Giving Back with the New 12 Tomatoes Cares Program →

Going out to eat is a rare treat these days, but getting takeout helps to fill the void, at least to a certain extent. The real problem with takeout is not on our end, it’s the fact that most people who work at those establishments don’t get the tips that they would if we ate there in person.

It seems as if somebody is willing to do something about it. A man who is fluent in Mandarin took a video of himself visiting his favorite Chinese takeout restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown. During his visit to five of those establishments, he left a $1000 tip at each place. If that isn’t amazing enough, some of the restaurant employees tried to give him his money back!

XiaoMaNYC is the YouTube influencer who announced that he had $5000 and was planning on handing it out to his favorite Chinese restaurants in $1000 increments. He put the money in bright red envelopes, which signified they were a Chinese new year gift.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

He said: “We’re going to be going to five different restaurants, and giving them each a nice little ‘hongbao.'” Hongbao is the Mandarin name for those traditional gift envelopes. Inside each of those envelopes were ten $100 bills.

As a YouTuber with 3 million fans, he is accustomed to doing videos that go viral. This was sure to go in that direction because he was doing something good for people who provided great food. He wanted to reward the restaurants that “support a lot of employees and they’re all family run.”

Photo: YouTube/
Xiaomanyc 小马在纽约

When he visited Spicy Village on Forsythe Street, he talked about how they work 12 hours a day and they never stop. Most people know that they deserve a tip, but he went above and beyond to help a business that was hurt by the pandemic.

The woman at Spicy Village did not realize she was on camera. After filling his bag with holiday candles and tea, all of which were complimentary, she asked him for the $15 to pay for his order. He then opened up with: “Oh by the way, I wanted to give you something” and handed her the envelope.

Photo: YouTube/
Xiaomanyc 小马在纽约

You can hear the woman insisting that she doesn’t want it but he finally convinces her that she should look inside, and when she does, she tried to give it back. Although she tries on multiple occasions to put the money in his backpack, he tells her he just wanted to thank them on Chinese new year and she finally took the money.

Many of the other restaurants were similar in that they said it was too much, but in the end, they were thankful that someone was kind enough to do it.