First came the tip, now comes the cash

/ Source: The Associated Press

A bartender who last week was left a $10,000 tip by a regular customer now has more than the excitement of the offer: She has the cash.

Cindy Kienow received a check Tuesday from Applebee's franchise owner J.S. Stevens for about $6,300, her share of the tip after taxes.

The customer gave Kienow the hefty tip Aug. 27 on a $26 meal. But since he paid by credit card, the restaurant wanted to make sure it was a valid charge before giving Kienow the money.

"I've had a lot of fun," Kienow said of the last week, which has included interviews with media from across the globe. "A lot of customers are like, 'I can't afford to sit at the bar anymore.' It's been really crazy."

Restaurant officials have declined to identify the tipper.

"I hate to say it, but I really don't know him," Kienow said. "You become friends with your customers.... I think he just appreciated the fact that I took the time to talk with him."

Kienow, 35, said now that the media frenzy has died down, she is content to keep serving customers at the restaurant, where she has worked for the last eight years.

"That's the pure joy of my job, that I just get to talk with people," she said.

As for what she'll do with the money, Kienow has said she got the impression her customer wanted her to buy something special, adding that "there's a Jeep that I've had my eye on for a while."