Patrons at an IHOP in Charleston, South Carolina got a welcome surprise on Sunday when they learned their meals had already been paid for, thanks to Darius Rucker. Stephen Vitale, the General Manager of the Mount Pleasant location of the breakfast chain, told WCSC-TV that Rucker is considered a regular at the restaurant and decided to treat patrons during a recent trip.
"It was a full restaurant," Vitale said, sharing that Rucker approached him and asked to pay for the meals of everyone dining at the time. "There were a lot of people. I added it up and he paid." Vitale added that the singer left a "very generous" tip for the servers to share and that his gesture "caused a lot of excitement." "We know him because he does come in quite often and we consider him a regular," Vitale explained, Rucker wore a mask when he wasn't eating and that many patrons didn't recognize him, though the few who did thanked him for his gesture.
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"It was a good morning at IHOP," Vitale added. Rucker is a native of Charleston and his family history goes back generations in the city. In February 2020, the "Beers and Sunshine" singer was named a South Carolina tourism ambassador. "We’re thrilled with the opportunity to work with a well-known Southern voice to promote South Carolina," the department's director, Duane Parrish said in a statement at the time, via WYFF. "Darius Rucker is a homegrown star with a genuine love of his state. His story and talent are attractions themselves."
"Whether he’s singing about his hometown or talking about his life experiences, you can tell Darius Rucker is proud of where he’s from," Parrish added. "Our partnership is a natural fit."
Rucker recently acted as an ambassador of another sort when he invited his friends Lady A to become members of the Grand Ole Opry during the recent taping of the upcoming television special Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music. Rucker, who is an Opry member himself, introduced the country trio for their performance while sharing the good news.
"What can you say about three friends of yours who together have become one of the biggest groups in country music history? Well, how about this?" he said. "This trio are multi-platinum superstars, seven-time Grammy Award winners and seven-time CMA Award winners too. And I feel so honored to stand here in the Opry House and hope they accept the invitation I am thrilled to be offering them tonight. So, what do you say, Lady A? Would you like to become members of the Opry?"