McGillin’s Olde Ale House server Lisa O’Boyle saw her customer and his friend watching clips of the New England Patriots on ESPN Friday at the bar.
The customer said the Patriots were his second-favorite football team.
“He was like, ‘Wait till you hear my first — the Detroit Lions,’ ” O’Boyle recalled.
O’Boyle was shocked. She hasn’t met many Lions fans in Eagles country, but her husband and her son love the team, who were set to play the Eagles that Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (spoiler: It did not go well for the Eagles).
She has no idea why her husband and 10-year-old son like the Lions. Or how. Her husband grew up in Fishtown. And her son loves the Lions because her husband does.
O’Boyle told her customer that her son is such a die-hard fan, he’s painted his room Lions blue. But she couldn’t bring herself to spend $200-plus on tickets for the game, she told the man.
“He said, ‘I’m going to tip you $400,’ ” O’Boyle recalled. She thought he was just playing around.
The man and his friend had one beer each. He paid with a credit card and signed his check.
“He handed me the slip and said, ‘Tell your son, enjoy the game,’ ” O’Boyle, of Bridesburg, recalled.
The man wrote his phone number on the bottom.
“I just ask that you send me a picture of your kid at the game,” he told her.
O’Boyle looked at the signed slip. The man had tipped her $400 on a check for two beers that cost $8.25.
“I was almost in tears,” said O’Boyle, who has worked at McGillin’s for eight years. “This happens on TV, but never in a million years did I think it would happen to me.”
Since O’Boyle isn’t much of a football fan, she let her husband and her son, Mikey Beltz Jr., go to the game, where the Lions defeated the Eagles, 27-24.
Not only did Mikey get to attend his first pro football game and watch his favorite team win, but he and O’Boyle’s husband were also able to get great seats with the big tip.
Mikey was ecstatic. They texted photos of him at the game to his Lions benefactor.
“He wrote back and said, ‘I’m glad I could make his day. Go, Lions!’ ” O’Boyle said.
Chris Mullins Jr., who owns McGillin’s with his parents, said the customer’s gesture was a reminder that you never know whom you might be serving at Philly’s oldest-running bar.