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Doctor decides to help small local businesses – opens a $100 tab each week


SEATTLE, Wash. (NBC News) A Seattle doctor decided to lead by example… And give back as much and as often as she can to help small businesses stay open during the pandemic.

As each week draws to a close, Dr. Christine Zapata pulls out her wallet and asks a Seattle business owner to ring her up for a hundred bucks.

Then she records a message for social media, for example: “Hello everyone, I’m here at Neon taco and I just opened up a hundred dollar tab so that you can get five dollars off of your order – just tell them it’s on Dr. Christine.”

She then asks the public to support the businesses.

She’s been doing it ever since the start of the pandemic.

“I honestly thought that this was going to last maybe 2 weeks or a month tops and here we are 8 months later,” Zapata said.

Zapata owns Emerald City Spinal Care on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and though she’s been able to stay open, she’s had to make costly safety upgrades to her clinic.

But some of her neighbors are just barely getting by, she said. “A lot of the small business owners I’m talking to their really just trying to focus on surviving and trying to hang in there until things go back to normal.”

No one really knows how long that will be, but Zapata said she’ll open the tabs as long as she has to, because she believes that supporting local small businesses today will help insure they’ll be there when everything settles down.

So far, she’s opened more than $3600 worth of tabs at local small businesses and she has no plan to stop any time soon.

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