PLATTSBURGH — Kerry Taylor nearly shed a tear when an anonymous customer gifted her center city sandwich joint $100.
"It really does restore your faith in humanity," Taylor, owner of Zuke's Deli, said. "We've had so much negativity and hate going on in the past year throughout the entire country.
"To see somebody do something like that — it means the world to me. It really does."
Taylor has owned Zuke's Deli on the corner of Brinkerhoff and William streets in the City of Plattsburgh for almost six years.
She took over the shop in June 2015, weeks before two inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, made their infamous escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.
"We ended up feeding 200 (members of) law enforcement for about two weeks straight," Taylor said. "It was a nice welcome to buying the place."
The owner laughed, adding, "It was a little stressful."
The shop has been well-known since its early 1990's opening, serving up subs and sandwiches, like its admired Zuke's Special, as well as homemade soups and salads.
Situated a block away from campus, it is a popular stop for both SUNY Plattsburgh students and locals alike.
LOCAL BIZ DONATIONS
Taylor took a photo of the card, which was delivered with $100 in it and, though left unsigned by the anonymous benefactor, had a sweet message inside. She posted it to the Zuke's Deli Facebook page Monday morning.
The card reads, "We just received our stimulus check. Our family's income was not affected by the pandemic so we decided to donate to our favorite local businesses."
It later thanks the sub shop for closing "without being mandated to. We all need to stick together and keep each other safe," it continues. "Thanks for being a wonderful Plattsburgh business. Wishing you well during these challenging times. Take good care. Stay well."
When Taylor posted the image, she thanked the individual, calling them "truly special" and said, "You can be sure we will pay it forward."
The gift came soon after Zuke's closed up for a little more than a week due to concerns related to the COVID pandemic.
Taylor said two full-time employees were notified of an exposure that occurred outside of the workplace.
"I shut us down even though I didn't know if we were positive yet — just to be safe," she said, noting the typical delay between testing and results. "People are running around before they even know. I felt we had to stop the spread somewhere, so we had to do our part."
The two exposed individuals later tested positive for COVID-19 and the shop's other 10 or so employees all tested negative.
"It does really give a testament to wearing a mask," Taylor said. "If anyone ever says to you that they don't think that they work — they do.
"It was two full timers that were around employees, within 6 feet of each other, and not one of them contracted it."
ACT OF KINDNESS
Taylor called the $100 a "true act of genuine kindness" at a time when money was tight for the small, local business.
Noting how the individual still remained anonymous, Taylor said, "They didn't want any recognition for it, so that made it even more special."
Part of the reason Taylor made the Facebook post was in hopes that her appreciation would reach the donor. By Wednesday afternoon, the post had been shared just under 70 times and had nearly 640 likes.
"I didn't think it would get that kind of response," she said. "It just shows what a wonderful community that we are a part of. I was just in awe."
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A Zuke's Deli employee packages a customer's sub Tuesday afternoon. The shop recently reopened after an eight-day hiatus related to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was welcomed back open with a $100 gift from an anonymous patron.