Man going around to Dane County restaurants surprising servers with massive tips

Eric Salzwedel raises money through Venmo then gives the cash to hard-working waiters and waitresses
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 11:34 AM CDT
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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) -A man from Marshall is going around to Dane County restaurants surprising servers with huge tips to alleviate some of the economic strains of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think right now, too, everyone is simply trying to find ways to give back and help the community and others,” said Eric Salzwedel.

It’s called the #VenmoChallenge. Salzwedel says family, friends, even strangers send him money via Venmo and he gives that cash goes to local servers.

“Whether it’s $5, $10, or $20 --it all adds up,” he said. “I give 100 % to the next waiter or waitress that I see, and it’s been phenomenal,”

Jerica Keck is the latest recipient of Salzwedel’s goodwill. She’s been a bartender and server at Daly’s Bar and Grill in Sun Prairie for the past five years.

“The last six months have definitely been difficult,” she said.

Salzwedel stopped in for lunch on Wednesday and left her a $200 tip.

“I was just absolutely blown away by the generosity. It was absolutely phenomenal and very unexpected,” she said.

“People are so appreciative. I can’t imagine being in the service industry right now and how tough it can be,” Salzwedel said. “You can just truly see the impact that we are making,”

Salzwedel says so far, he’s dished out about $2,500 to 11 different servers in Dane County.

“I remember being a waiter at one point and getting a $10 tip and it simply made my night,” he said. “Just the other day, I did one and the waitress said 'this simply made my month,”

Salzwedel is no stranger to acts of kindness. He’s the co-founder of an organization called “Do Good Wisconsin”. Over the summer, Salzwedel organized a school supply drive for teachers all over the state.

“I always tell people, if I could volunteer as a career, I would,” he said. “I’m just super into philanthropy and giving back.,”

Salzwedel says he plans to keep on surprising servers with lots of cash as long as people give generously. If you’d like to donate, his Venmo is @ericsalzwedel

Keep your eyes peeled because you never know where Salzwedel is going to have lunch next.

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