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In a generous gesture that has been going viral recently, a foodie in the United States has decided to help out five of his favourite but struggling food joints in Manhattan’s Chinatown by giving them generous tips. The heartwarming attempt to help the restaurants facing losses due to the coronavirus pandemic has been winning hearts both on and offline.

According to a NY Post report, a YouTuber XiaoMaNYC, filmed himself doling out $1,000 tips at five of his favourite food joints. A Manhattan-based video producer whose real name is Arieh Smith, the YouTuber starts his video by explaining before handing out these huge tips, which he neatly placed into bright red envelopes that are traditionally exchanged as gifts on Chinese New Year celebrations. “I got five thousand dollars (approx. Rs 3,67,960),” he says and “we’re going to be at five different restaurants and handing out each a nice little ‘hongbao’ (red envelopes)”.

He chose the Chinese New Year period, which began on February 12 and ended Friday, as it is considered an auspicious occasion.

Talking about his favourite eateries he says that “not only do they provide great food to the people in the neighborhood, but they also support a lot of employees and they’re all family-run”.

One of the first stops Smith stopped by was a restaurant on Forsythe Street. “They work nonstop for 12 hours a day. And they definitely deserve a little something,” he say. In the video clip, he starts chatting in Mandarin with one of the workers at the restaurant, who before taking his order says, “we’re just hanging in there”, and also about the pandemic that has hit their business.

Unaware of the fact that she’s on camera, she adds that Smith’s takeout bag full of complimentary tea and holiday candies. She then tells him the order came to USD15 and wishes him a happy New Year. He then hands over a ‘hongbao’ envelope, to which the waitress refuses to accept. Finally, Smith convinces her to accept the New Year’s gift, she immediately looks inside and tries to hand it back to him.

The duo tussle over the amount of money in the envelope as the waitress repeatedly refuses to accept his generous tip. “Are you sure? I really can’t accept it,” she says tearing up.

At other takeout windows, Smith’s red envelopes prompt similar reactions. At the end of his video Smith urges people to support folks in Chinatown and with a laugh asks them to show up at their restaurants to buy something delicious.

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