PRESCOTT, AZ — An unknown woman walked into a pizzeria in Prescott, Arizona this week, handed the owner an envelope with $2,000 in cash inside, a short message of hope, and then walked out. No name. No contact information. Nothing.
"It still gives me chills thinking about it now," Skyler Reeves, owner of Rosa's Pizzeria, told ABC15 on Thursday via Zoom video chat.
The entire moment happened in less than two seconds, he said, comparing it to something you'd see in a movie. But, in those two seconds, it allowed him to help others.
"It took a minute to settle in, ya know? I put it in my pocket. Thought about it that night, talked about it with some friends, ya know, about what I should do," he said.
Like many restaurants, Reeve's has had to make some difficult decisions in order to keep Rosa's Pizzeria afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He had to reduce his staff from 40-50 people at its peak to six full-time employees and a handful of servers whose jobs are now focused on handling the restaurant's carry-out orders. He changed the menu to focus on that to-go business, reduced costs, updated his POS (point of sale) system, and is working to setup online ordering and curbside pick-up soon.
"You look at those hard costs, and every day I work a new break-even model. And I’m not exaggerating when I say every day. If we sell this much how do we look? If we sell that much, how do we look? If I have to lower salaries of some of our managers, what does that look like? It is thin margins. It's hard" he said.
"Being a bigger restaurant group, we’re in a better position than I think a lot of people. I feel very fortunate because we were able to cross-utilize some products, able to grab staff from different places, and just be super creative on how to save money and then promote the heck out of it and rely on a great community like this woman that came in, like other people that are going out of their way to come to Rosa’s and order food and come home and take pictures and post about it, hey guys, support your local restaurants. Like I said, it’s not about me and my business, but I’m trying to keep my business as healthy as possible to keep as many people employed as possible.
That is where he said the $2,000 will go -- to his employees most affected by the current situation.
To the mystery woman, if he could, he would say: "She’s brightened a lot of people's days and while I’m passing the money on of course to my staff, I definitely have thought back on it as kind of a bright spot in what’s been a really tough week, or however long its been. It’s a moment I never forget for the rest of my life, like ever, ever."
As for the letter, it said: "Hi there, as a neighbor and lover of Rosa's, please accept the enclosed and use it as you see fit for your staff."
Rosa's Pizzeria is located at 330 W Gurley Street in Prescott, Arizona, which is about two hours north of Phoenix.
We're Open, Arizona: We know this is a tough time for a lot of people in our community, including local restaurants and businesses. As local spots continue to serve takeout, look for ways to safely do business, and give back to our community, we want to share their stories. Visit abc15.com/open or email us at OpenInAZ@abc15.com.