These New York Waitresses Just Got A $100,000 Surprise

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Ever had such good service, you wanted to leave a ridiculously enormous tip? Though we like to think we're generous, we tend to pump the brakes at around 20%. Before his death last August, however, an 85-year-old NYC man decided he wanted to do a lot more than that. Maureen Donohue-Peters and her niece, Maureen Barrie, are waitresses at Donohue's Steak House on the Upper East Side. To millionaire art collector Robert Ellsworth, they were known as "Maureen at Donohue's" and "Maureen at Donohue's niece Maureen." That's how they were referred to in his will, where he also allotted to each woman $50,000 for the service she'd provided during his daily lunches and dinners at the restaurant.  “We were his dining room,” Donohue-Peters told the New York Post. Most days, Ellsworth stopped in for midday bacon grilled cheese and an evening sirloin steak; a Jim Beam bourbon followed both. Often, he'd bring co-workers or friends, and always, he left 20%. While both women were surprised to have been included in his will, they described him as "more than just a customer" and "a wonderful man and a dear friend." Before his death, Ellsworth occupied a 22-room apartment on Fifth Avenue that he shared with his live-in chef and companion, Masahiro Hashiguchi. His fortune was estimated at $200 million. And, because we know you're wondering, Ellsworth did not forget Hashiguchi in his will. According to the Post, the Japanese chef received $10 million, along with jewelry, furniture, real estate, crystal, and a dog.