Shaquille O’Neal added another goodwill gesture to his record after he footed the bill for guests at a restaurant he had gone to with a mystery date. According to Page Six, the retired basketball star cum sports analyst was at the New York City-based upscale restaurant Jue Lan Club on Sunday night when he decided to cover the entire expenses of the eatery’s patrons before leaving.
The 50-year-old is said to have gone to the restaurant with an unidentified woman he reportedly said was his “date.” An insider also told the news outlet that the mystery woman “did all the ordering.”
When they were done eating, Shaq then went ahead to pay for the meals of the whole server team. “And to top that off, he paid for everyone’s check [who was] dining at the restaurant,” the source said.
Shaq also reportedly told the restaurant staff not to notify patrons of his gesture until he left. The 50-year-old is said to have covered the tab for more than 40 tables.
The source said the total bill was “well over $25,000.” And besides that, the retired NBA champion also extended his generosity to the restaurant staff as “he left them the biggest tip they’ve ever received,” the source said.
Shaq is well known for his lowkey philanthropic and generous endeavors. In an interview with PEOPLE last year, the 50-year-old explained why he doesn’t hesitate to help when he can.
“A lot of people describe it as giving back. I describe it as doing what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to help those in need,” he said at the time. “If I’m somewhere and see somebody’s needing something, I’ll take care of it. My favorite places to go to are Best Buy and furniture stores.”
He also revealed his mother advised him to be as generous as he could. “I just always try to continue to do the right thing and just lead by example. I’m all about brightening up people’s day,” Shaq said.
“I had a meeting with my mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, and she was like, ‘Baby, you’ve done everything I’ve asked you to do. I think you should go about every day just making somebody smile and making somebody happy.’ So I take pride in each and every day by just making one person smile, whether it’s one person or whether it’s a hundred people or whether it’s a thousand people.”