For the love of Northeast, bartender Anthony Thill donates tips to fire victim

A photo of Spencer watching his apartment burn captured hearts in Northeast.

A photo of Spencer watching his apartment burn captured hearts in Northeast. Tamra Lee via Facebook

I hope Anthony Thill won’t be mad at me for writing this.

He told me he’d tell me his story, but he didn’t want any recognition.

“It’s not my story,” he says insistently.

It’s really Spencer’s story. He lost everything he owned in an apartment fire on May 6 at the corner of Spring Street and Quincy Avenues in Northeast Minneapolis. A neighbor, Tamra Lee, happened upon the fire and Spencer, who sat quietly watching the blaze. She sat down with him and eventually she snapped a photo.

“It was definitely heartbreaking, just watching him sit there and watch everything he owned burn,” says Thill, who saw the photo on the I Love NE Facebook Page.

Thill is an avid follower of the page. He’s actually from St. Paul, but Northeast is where his heart is.

“I just love the neighborhood and I love the people. It’s what Uptown used to be. It’s not so corporate and homogenous. . . I love the generosity of the people in the neighborhood.”

Almost a hundred other commenters besides jumped on the the cause of helping Spencer, including Lee, who has set up a Go Fund Me page to help Spencer raise $3,000 to get back on his feet. So far, the campaign has raised $570.

Thill is a bartender at Knight Cap, a salt-of-the-earth Northeast bar. He decided to do a simple, salt-of-the-earth thing: donate his entire shift’s worth of tips to the cause. He put the word out on Facebook. The result was that he “absolutely” made more tips than he typically would on an average shift. Then he went over to Spring Street Tavern, where Lee is a bartender, and handed the money to her to contribute to the fund, or to give directly to Spencer.

“I just thought it was a unique way to be a part of the neighborhood,” said Thill. “Being there to pick up your neighbors.”

Go here to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign.

The Knight Cap
1500 4th St. NE, Minneapolis