Merry Christmas: Twenty servers in St. Pete to receive $1,000 tips from local website

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A handful of restaurant servers and customer service providers in The Burg will have a very special holiday season this year, with one of twenty $1,000 cash tips for going above and beyond.

The bonuses are courtesy of Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site based in St. Petersburg, as part of the “Thank You Campaign.”

Over the past two months, Squaremouth employees fanned out over the city searching for examples of outstanding service. Those who delivered a great experience were given a surprise envelope in December containing $1,000 – no strings attached.

“We are rewarding people who put in the extra effort for their customers,” said Squaremouth co-founder and CEO Chris Harvey. “We wanted them to know their hard work has not gone unnoticed.”

Squaremouth encourages all of the customer service champions to tell their stories on In January, they will select one winner for an additional $10,000 in cash, with another $1,000 for the establishment.

So far, three winners have been announced.

Ashley Van Anne, the campaign’s third beneficiary, said her tip was “so unexpected and touching.”

“I know anyone in customer service could use the cash, especially this time of year,” she wrote, “I have never experienced anything remotely like it.”

Anne is a server at The Birch & Vine restaurant in the Beach Drive’s Birchwood hotel.

Cassis American Brasserie General Manager Elliot Gunther called the tip “the best present I’ve ever received in my entire life!”

“A huge thank you Squaremouth for your appreciation for my hard work,” said another recipient, Darrell Butler of The Oyster Bar.

“Customer service is our number one priority,” Harvey explained. “We came up with the Thank You Campaign as our way of appreciating others who feel the same way. These people have chosen to do a remarkable job every day.

“What better time than the holiday season to say thank you.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.