By Paul Burton

SALEM (CBS) — When Melissa Andrew showed up at work today at the Village Tavern in Salem she had no idea about the $100 tip she would receive from two complete strangers. Scott Sheehan and Mark Roberts have been very busy lately bringing smiles to a lot of restaurant employees in Salem.

The pandemic has crushed the restaurant industry and tight restrictions have put a significant strain on employees who are living paycheck to paycheck.

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Inspired by similar kind acts taking place in Philadelphia, Sheehan and Roberts decided to set up a GoFundMe page asking anyone to donate so they can pay it forward by handing out envelopes with $100 dollars cash to restaurant employees.

“I am shaking right now it’s so nice of them,” Andrews said.

Scott Sheehan and Mark Roberts had Melissa Andrews $100 in an envelope. (WBZ-TV)

Sheehan explained, “What we are doing is not going to save the restaurant industry but what we’ve been able to do is bring some smiles to people’s faces and let them know that the community is still here behind them.”

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Margot Smith works at Bit Bar as a server. She was also surprised by the gift.

“It’s very inspiring, just made me really happy to know that people are willing to help other people,” Smith said.

Roberts and Sheehan told WBZ-TV they’ve already handed out 60 envelopes to bartenders, waitresses, and waiters in the past few days. They will continue to give until the $7,500 they’ve raised so far runs out.

They hope this inspires other cities and towns to do the same thing.

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“As awful as this pandemic, it’s so wonderful to see people coming together and helping us out because we’re all struggling. My heart is so open right now, it’s so nice,” Andrew said.

Paul Burton