Lost Wad of Cash at Iconic Atlantic City Restaurant Has Very Happy Ending

See, there really are still good people in this world.

The lost money at Tony's Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City

The lost money at Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City (photo courtesy Tony’s Baltimore Grill)

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Lost Wad of Money at Tony’s Baltimore Grill Has a Very Happy Ending

Lots of people come to Atlantic City and lose money. After all, people losing their money has been the general premise of the city by the sea ever since New Jersey legalized casino gambling in 1978. But one family from Maryland recently lost a whole lot of money in a different way than most.

The Maryland family, whom we agreed to not name out of respect for their privacy, recently paid a visit to Atlantic City for a vacation. And, like so many tourists, they wanted to explore the many restaurants of Atlantic City, which has what is arguably the best dining scene of any Jersey Shore town. This is what brought them to Tony’s Baltimore Grill, the iconic Italian pizzeria and restaurant that will hit its centennial in 2027.

The exterior of Tony's Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City

The exterior of Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City (photo courtesy Tony’s Baltimore Grill)

The family ate dinner. The family left. And the restaurant continued serving patrons.

Then a couple of key things happened. Tony’s Baltimore Grill waitress Pamela Spencer-Abernathy realized she lost her envelope of tip money. She and other employees looked around everywhere, but no dice.

Later that evening, dishwasher Mohammed Malek was cleaning out a booth when he happened to see an envelope that had fallen into an out-of-the-way place. He assumed this was the tip envelope belonging to Spencer-Abernathy, so he gave it to her.

She looked inside and quickly realized this wasn’t her tip envelope at all, so she brought it to management, They counted the money, which totaled more than $2,000, and placed the envelope securely in a safe. They weren’t sure what to do beyond that. Lots of customers throughout the night. People paying with cash, so it’s not like you can go through credit card receipts. You get the idea. (Spencer-Abernathy’s tip envelope did show up that night, pushed up against the bar on the floor.)

Waitress Pamela Spencer-Abernathy and dishwasher Mohammed Malek at Tony's Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City

Waitress Pamela Spencer-Abernathy and dishwasher Mohammed Malek at Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City (photo courtesy Tony’s Baltimore Grill)

Obviously by now you realize that the Maryland family lost the money. They had been dining at Spencer-Abernathy’s booth. They didn’t realize they lost it until the next morning. (We personally can’t imagine not realizing we lost more than $2,000 until the next morning, but that’s us.) And it effectively ruined their vacation. It was all the money they had access to. So they decided to cut the vacation short and head home to Maryland. As they did, they took a wrong turn, which took them back by Tony’s Baltimore Grill.

They thought it was incredibly unlikely that they lost the money there — it could have fallen out in so many places, and what are the chances that somebody would have “done the right thing” had they found it instead of proceeding directly to a roulette table? But since the restaurant was in front of the family, they went in and asked. They were shocked to learn the restaurant had the money there for them.

The family gave a $100 thank you to Spencer-Abernathy, who insisted on splitting that down the middle with Malek. So the family gave her another $50, which she also insisted on splitting with Malek, as it should be. The family was able to finish their vacation — Spencer-Abernathy, an Atlantic City lifer, gave them a bunch of travel tips and restaurant recommendations — and then back home to Maryland they went.

Once the owners of Tony’s Baltimore Grill learned what had happened, they called a staff meeting earlier this week. And it was there that they told Spencer-Abernathy and Malek that the owners were giving them their choice of $1,000 each or a special vacation.

“Mohammed took the vacation, which he really needed,” says Spencer-Abernathy. “But I took the $1,000. I’ve been without a car for a while now, and I’m saving for something used. This will really help with that.”

She then teared up, and we asked her what was wrong.

“I’m a 63-year-old recovering heroin addict,” she revealed. “And this just goes to show you that if you change your life, man, good things will come to you. My boss gave me $1,000 just for doing the right thing. If I came across that envelope before I got clean, I would have kept it and hated myself for it. I can’t wait to share this saga at all of my meetings.”

Bucks County Continues Its Descent Into Madness

Bucks County, where one could have had a perfectly ordinary childhood half a century ago, just gets weirder and weirder. In the latest twist in its election wars, the Bucks County Democratic Committee has gone to court to force the removal of campaign signs that label Democrats “groomers,” insult its candidates, and don’t bear the required info on who paid for the signs.

As an added fillip, some of the signs falsely declare that they were paid for by, a cryptocurrency company. Republicans, who are so eager to speak up at school-board meetings about the culture wars, couldn’t back away fast enough from claiming any responsibility for the signage. (Sample: “Hey Democrats! Groom dogs not kids! Schools teach academics not porn!”)

The Game Stunk But, Hey, at Least a Lot of People Watched Us Stink

Did you enjoy Tuesday’s killer loss by the Phillies in the NLCS? You didn’t? Neither did we. But the game was the third most-watched league championship Game 7 in 15 years and had two million more viewers than the Astros-Rangers series final on Monday night. So either everybody likes hating on Philly — or Philly love isn’t just confined to the 215.

Family Business

In other news, a few years back, Ashley Primis wrote for Philly Mag on the new wave of nicknames for grandparents now that good ol’ Grandma and Grandpa have become passé. (Note: She did not approve.) Now the language tutoring website Preply has conducted a nationwide poll to determine the most common nicknames for grandparents across America, and in case you were wondering, “Nana” is the distaff winner, followed by “Grammy,” “Granny” and “Gran.” For the guys, “Papa” was the overall winner, followed up by “Pop-Pop,” “Papaw” and “Pawpaw.” It’s starting to sound a little like Appalachia around here.

By the Numbers

32: Nominees in the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Best of Fall” competition. The winner was Musselman’s Apple Cider, which, all well and good, but among the other nominees was Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, so how … ?

2: Ranking of Temple University in a nationwide study of “Most Fashionable College Campuses.” Stylin’, Owls!

2 Too: Remaining days to catch the Philadelphia Zoo’s “Boo at the Zoo” festival, this Saturday and Sunday, October 28th and 29th. You might see this!

12: Number of times Inquirer writer Stephanie Farr said “Oh wow” or “That’s creepy as hell” on her pre-opening tour of Doylestown artist Edmondo Crimi’s new VAMPA museum of vampire and paranormal-activity art, opening tomorrow.

And from the Whew-Debut Sports Desk …

The Harden-less Sixers got off to a good start in their game against the Bucks in Milwaukee last night but then stalled halfway through the first quarter and fell behind 15-7. New coach Nick Nurse called a timeout to rally the troops and sent in Kelly Oubre Jr., who is almost as cute as Tyrese Maxey.

He was hot, too, with 10 in the quarter, but it wasn’t quite enough: end of the first, 30-23 Bucks. They cut it to 32-30 on a LONG Maxey three two minutes into the second, but the Bucks came alive and ran it out to a 55-37 game; the Sixers were cold from the free-throw line. Our guys kept plugging, but at the half, they were down 63-54.

They sliced that to two halfway into the third, 71-69, as Embiid came alive and P.J. Tucker got himself into foul woes. Then we got a bad case of the Turnovers and Giannis heated up — but Giannis notched his fourth foul, on Joel, which could only help. The lead lingered around six points throughout, and it was 88-85 at the final break thanks to a great Paul Reed block. Maxey had 22, Embiid had 20, and Oubre wasn’t far behind with 19. Could they pull it off?

A Harris three made it a one-point game with eight-plus left, and Maxey was fouled on a drive by Damien Lillard, playing his first game as a Buck, and put us up, 95-94. An Oubre trey! And a Kelly steal to cap a 12-0 run! But Brooks Lopez hit a three to make it 102-97 halfway through, and a Jae Crowder three made it a two-point game. Giannis tied it up, and a Lillard three put the Bucks up.

Def some crappy-ass reffing going on during a Bucks 16-2 run. The Sixers had a 7-0 stretch of their own, but Lillard had 39 freaking points. Harris three: two-point game … and a thriller finish, with a De’Anthony Melton made-three at the buzzer in a Sixers 118-117 loss. Great game and great start, though! Can’t feel too bad about that one.

What’s Up This Weekend?

The Sixers face the Raptors away at 7:30 on Saturday and the Trail Blazers at home at 7:30 on Sunday. The Eagles have a 1 p.m. game on Sunday against Josh Harris’s Washington Commanders in D.C. And pay some attention to the 4-2 Browns, who’ve had former Temple QB P.J. Walker making some noteworthy noise while in for injured Deshaun Watson.

Any Doop News?

The Union playoff schedule is set: First game is Saturday at 5 p.m. at Subaru Park vs. the New England Revolution; they then have 10 days until the second game in the three-game series, on November 8th,

And on the College Gridiron?

Brown comes to Penn at 7 on Friday; on Saturday, Penn State hosts Indiana at noon; Ursinus hikes to McDaniel at 1; and Villanova welcomes Stony Brook at 2:30. Temple has a bye. Maybe it will help.

Do the Flyers Also Play?

The Flyers also play.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.