Ernie Boch
Boston billionaire Ernie Boch's $5,000 was inspired by a viral tipping challenge.

After seeing a tipping challenge on Facebook, US billionaire Ernie Boch decided to take it to the next level.

Boch decided to leave a $5,000 (R74,000) tip after a $157 (R2,300) meal at a beachfront seafood restaurant Seaglass Restaurant in Salisbury, Massachusetts, he confirmed to CBS Boston after the lucky waitress' Facebook post about the tip went viral.

"Waiters and waitresses, they're such fine people," the Boston-based Boch told CBS Boston. "It really hit me. I don't know what it was. There was a feeling - this person is amazing. That's why I did it."

Jennifer Navaria, the waitress who received the tip, wrote on Facebook that Boch's generosity made "a job I really enjoy that much better." Navaria told CBS Boston that she recognised Boch and enjoyed serving his four-person table. She didn't see the tip until after the group had already left the restaurant.

"I looked down and thought, 'oh $50, that's nice,'" Navaria told WBZ-TV. "On $157, that's nice. I kind of looked again at the slip ... I really had to look at the bottom line; that's when I was shaking."

Jennifer Navaria/Facebook

The 2020 tipping challenge spread on social media after actor Donnie Wahlberg left a $2,020 tip on a $78 tab on New Years' Day, CNN reported. Most participants only leave $20 tips, however. On the receipt he left for Navaria, Boch wrote, "Donnie, your move."

Boch built a billion-dollar fortune running 11 new and used car dealerships in the Boston area, according to Newsweek. He has a net worth of $1.1 billion, NBC Boston reported in 2018.

"It's just one of those things you never think would ever happen to you," Navaria told local reporters. "I've read about it over the years and never in a million years."

Navaria didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: