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Textbooks Are Expensive
Textbooks Are Expensive

"I worked at a sushi bar for about 18 months through college to help reduce my need for loans to pay for books, late night pizza, and activities. I made decent tips there - maybe $10-15 an hour after all was said and done. One night around Homecoming, one of the members of the Board of Directors came in and tipped $40 on top of the 18% on the credit card tip. That paid for like 1/5 of a textbook!"

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

"I've been bartending now for over 12 years. I've come to accept that I love my bartending career even though my mom hates that I still make/serve drinks at the very ripe age of 35. Some of my favorite perks are, I occasionally get to have conversations with celebrities and meet people from all over the world. I get the opportunity to capitalize on my people skills and service, and with that comes great rewards and constant encounters with generous tippers. Even more so around the holidays when it's mandatory to work while others are spending time with their loved ones. On this occasion in December of 2014, I was working almost 60 hours every week and I remember this particular couple pointing out to me 'how I wasn't my usual self'. When they said goodbye, the man said, 'hope you get some rest, we appreciate you working so hard, Merry Christmas'.
$200.00 tip, half cash half credit card on a $76.00 tab"

Realization
Realization

"This happened much earlier in my employment with Walgreens pharmacy for the past few years working at various stores between states. Our store was always busy with a double drive thru and demanding clientele, we were filling upwards of 500 scripts daily. Needless to say I was running and rushing like a chicken with its head cut off all over the place. An older gentleman at the register stopped me and said, 'Relax kid, Walgreens has been around for a hundred years and it'll be here for the next 100 so take it easy'. Big realization: not only was it unnecessary to stress myself out past my limits but that our customers realize the mayhem too and it really doesn't create the best image for patient care. Since then I've been more focused on the moment, on the now, rather than external pressures outside of my control"

Late Night Shifts
Late Night Shifts

"This happened around 15 years ago, and I still remember it. Before I started to work in book marketing, while in college I was also working part-time as a bartender. As a quite tall guy, I was usually getting late-night shifts, so female bartenders would feel a bit safer. On a very quiet night (around 2.am) where there was literally nobody in the bar, a pair came in. A very pretty girl around 30 years old, and a clearly wealthy, much older guy (at least 60 years old). They went to sit at the darkest table in the corner. What struck me from the very beginning was the very sad look in the girl eyes. I got so worried about her, that after maybe 20 minutes or so I went to their table (I never did that, as a bartender) and asked if there is anything I could help them with. Then the girl asked me to play a certain song (sadly I don't remember what song it was). I got back behind the bar and I played it. After another 20 minutes they got dressed and, while walking out of the place, the girl came to me, grabbed my hand, put $100 into my hand and whispered 'Thank you'. I still remember that as a sad and heartbreaking moment in my life"

Go Snowboarding
Go Snowboarding

"I was working alone one night, the cook and I. There was only a couple of tables, and one of them had already finished pretty much. Another table came in, I remember they had a really huge white truck when they pulled in.
I talked to them like I would socialize with any of the tables. There wasn't a whole lot to do that day so of course their drinks were always full and table always clear. It was a couple, maybe in their late forties. The man was saying something like 'Oh, it must be so great to live so close to the mountains. You can go snowboarding all the time!' I told him that I'd never been snowboarding but all of my friends go. He kept insisting that I needed to try it. I think that I said 'well, honestly, I don't have the money for a ticket to get on the mountain and snowboard. Or the gas to get there.' He said 'Oh okay, yeah I understand. Its definitely expensive'. And they ate their meal in peace. The woman went out to the truck and the man paid the bill and went to the restroom. Before he had even got out of it I had the table cleaned and ready for the next customers. I was rinsing out the rag to wipe down tables when he tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and he handed me a $100 bill and said 'Go snowboarding'. I said 'I can't take this!!!' But of course he insisted. They both had regular meals, it probably cost them about $25. I was pregnant and I couldn't. I was absolutely broke at the time, and I used it to pay my rent. I feel horrible that I didn't use it to go snowboarding, but it was kinda unrealistic at that time. It was, however, a big blessing in my life"

TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays

"Fridays. Man that was... I did not like that job. One night this woman comes in with three small children. As a waiter, I could usually tell who is going to tip well and who is going tip not at all. I definitely got the latter vibe from her. She asked about the price of everything on the menu, she ordered only water to drink. She wasn't interested in appetizers. At one point her daughter asked her (very politely) if she could have milk. The woman pulled out her coin purse and counted up her change before saying yes. Now I am convinced I'm not getting a tip, but they were very nice and pleasant to serve so I don't even think twice about it. At the end of the meal she paid entirely in quarters. When I went back to bus the table, to my surprise, there was a stack of quarters left for me. It amounted to $8, or about 25% of the meal. Here was a woman who had to count her money before ordering her daughter a chocolate milk because she wanted to make sure she still had enough to tip me generously. Was it the largest tip I ever got? No, but it's the only one I remember all these years later"

Fortune 500 Merger
Fortune 500 Merger

"Early in my life I was a waiter at an upscale steakhouse in Texas where dress code is a rule but sometimes not enforced. This day was one of those days it was not enforced. 6 men came in to the restaurant wearing shorts, untucked button up shirts and sandals. They were allowed in because the night was not going to be busy. Because it was going to be slow, everyone was asking to be cut early. All of the servers did not want to wait on these guys (being stereotypical they thought they would not get tipped) so I said I will wait on these guys but then I get to go home. The manager said that everyone has to agree, so I informed all the other servers of my plan and they agreed. So I go over to the table and introduce myself. It turned out that these 6 guys just closed the biggest deal of their companies history, over 7 figures. This is all they would divulge, financially but they merged with a Fortune 500 company. This was one of the best tables I have ever waited on not just what they ordered, it was their conversation. All 6 men were down to earth, polite, and cracking jokes. Between the 6 guys their bill was $2,000 (USD) and the tip was $400 (USD). Not only was this a fun table to take care of, but they walked in at 5pm and I was home by 8pm. To make that much money I usually had to work until midnight and work 8 to 10 tables. I loved this job, not only did I make excellent money, I met my wife there too! Win and Win!"

A Mess To Clean Up
A Mess To Clean Up

"To be clear, I wasn't really a tipped employee. Tips were an extra luxury in my job, and sometimes they were quite nice. Up to $20-$30 at points. It was back before I really dove seriously into management, and I still spent at least one night a week as the lobby cashier. It was kind of like therapy in a way. A Wednesday night where I was alone up there and I didn't have to worry about anyone except myself and my customers. On this occasion, I was in the middle of cleaning this enormous mess left by a girls' soccer party when this couple came in to order. They decided to sit almost directly next to this enormous mess left by the party and I was partly horrified. They commented on the mess that the party left for me and how much work it was for me. I wish I could remember exactly what I said, because it was quite zen and rather good natured. But as I cleared and cleaned the dining room for nearly the entire time the couple was in there, hopping from table to table, dodging here and there in the way I did on nights like those, I eventually found that the couple had left too. When I got to their table I found this note with a $5 bill"

Pays To Be Friendly
Pays To Be Friendly

"I used to be a bartender, and one night, a gentleman came in alone and sat in a booth off to the side. One of the servers went to take his order, and he ordered a bottle of beer. The service staff was very friendly, and they all ended up chatting with him. He ended up getting to know everyone in the bar by the end of the evening, except me. I never got out from the bar (it was a busy Friday night). When he left, the server brought me a fifty dollar bill. She said it was from him. I asked her why, as I had only opened the beer. She said that it was the same tip he gave everyone, except her. She got $100. Evidently, he was visiting from Texas, and he didn't know anyone. The staff was so friendly, that it was the best night he had experienced in his stay. He visited the bar every night until his business in town was finished. Every night, he tipped the same amounts. When he was asked why he was so generous (people tried to turn down the huge tips, but he insisted), he answered that people usually treated him badly until they found out he had money (he said he thought it was because his large size made them uncomfortable), and then they were overly friendly. He appreciated that we treated him well without any knowledge of who he was. I say 'we', but I didn't ever actually interact with him. I would have treated him well, but I still can't take credit for his wonderful experience. The tip was a very generous gesture that I had done nothing to earn"

Wow, I Need To Be A Bellman
Wow, I Need To Be A Bellman

"When I was in college, I spent two summers working as a bellman at the Athenaeum Hotel at Chatauqua Institution. The institution is situated on Lake Chatauqua in Western NY and is an intellectual retreat of sorts. The Athenaeum is the largest wooden structure east of the Mississippi and a truly beautiful hotel. As a bellman, we would valet guests cars, carry bags, and perform miscellaneous tasks for guest - often odd. For instance, I once was called to turn on the air conditioner for an elderly woman staying with us, however, when I arrived to help I was greeted by her in lingerie. She was probably 85. The hotel also had a manually operated elevator that we ran - that was fun and gave our 6 man team of bellman an air of mystery, as the elevator was notoriously fickle. Either way, I would regularly receive tips upwards of $20 from generous guests, however, all of our tips were split among the team. The most loyal and wealthy guests would stay the entire 9 week season at the hotel and would tip our bellman team upwards of $600 at the end of the season. You can do the math. Over the nine week period, the bellman would often make more than two months of the hotel manager's salary. It was a sweet gig and some of the best summers of my life"

Sailing On A Yacht
Sailing On A Yacht

"My first job on yachts was on a small day charter sail boat as a stewardess. I knew next to nothing about sailing and it was my very first time in the service industry. I knew only how I like to be treated as a costumer, so I did that. I earned around 60 to 80 dollars a day, plus tips, that were usually around 40 or 50 dollars. One day, we had a Canadian couple on board for a sunset cruise. They barely talked the whole 4 hours they were on board. The captain and I were afraid they were hating everything, as they smiled shyly when the drinks and food arrived, never wanted anything and seemed oblivious to the captain's attempts to converse. When they sat over at the bow, we decided to leave them alone for longer periods and check in with them every half-hour or so. They weren't even particularly romantic with each other, they just sat there in silence. When they left, they gave 500 dollars to each of us, and said that they were very happy with the cruise. It turns out it was their first time on a boat and they were just absorbing everything about the experience. We wanted to make it more comfortable and engaging, but it was such a big deal for them that they just didn't react externally. I suppose they were even a bit scared, by the very cautious way they moved on board. I felt grateful and a bit embarrassed for judging their satisfaction by their silence. It was one of the first times I realized not everyone was as uncomfortable with silence as I was"

VIP Waiter
VIP Waiter

"I was one of 3 waiters looking after a group of 25 VIP guests who arrived quite late in the evening as they had attended a formal ceremony earlier in the night. The host guest that night is a well known, very wealthy business man and we were optimistic. Only one course ended up being served, mostly burgers, along with wine & Champagne. It seemed the party was more interested in moving onto the next stop for the night. The bill total was not that high considering the amount of guests and the usual head spend at this particular restaurant. I believe it was around R8000 (~ $450). In South Africa tipping is usually between 10 - 20% and upon receiving the bill back an expected, somewhat disappointing amount was written on the slip which I cannot remember. It had been a long night and it looked as if us 3 waiters were not going to walk away with a lot. I informed the host that I would be back with the credit card machine. Having seen enough evidence to know that good looking waitresses receive better tips from male guests I asked my fellow waitress who is very pleasing to the eye to return to the table with the card machine and to try and charm the host. I have no clue what she said to him but when she returned from completing the transaction her smile was from ear to ear. The 10/15% tip that we would have received had changed to R1500 (~ $100) for each waiter which equates to R4500 (~ $300) total tip"

Life Advice
Life Advice

"I'm editing this to tell you my biggest tip was $30 at a small restaurant where I served the man a modest steak dinner...As a college waitress, I felt like it was Christmas. The biggest tip I ever received had nothing to do with money, it had to do with life advice. Before I read your fine print, I wrote that it was this: 'You don't get paid to be innovative. If they want you to dance on a ball and do tricks, that's what you do. You do what they pay you to do.' And you know what? The guy who gave me that advice was telling me the truth. The job I had was not an innovative space, and I was constantly thinking of new ideas, things I could improve, or ways that would delight my customers. I was constantly getting shot down. Tons of us have this problem---employee-organization mismatch. It's as bad for your health, life, and sanity as any bad relationship. That's when it's time for a good look in the mirror reciting the serenity prayer three times fast. 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.' Here's why: If you're a change agent in an organization that doesn't want change and innovation, you'll feel institutionalized, defeated, and depressed. You'll wonder what's wrong with you or you'll think you're not good. This wears at you over time. If you're not progressive and you're in a progressive organization that changes at the drop of a dime, you'll feel unsafe, like you can never get footing on solid ground. You'll be consumed by what you see as chaos. If you're not matched intellectually you'll stagnate. If you're in a culture that doesn't fit you you'll feel lonely. The list goes on and on. The minute I realized there was nothing wrong with me---that it was possible for me to be right on every level an not be able to make effective change in the organization I was in---it was a life-changing epiphany of a moment. Game on! I could smile, do what they paid me to do and no more---as it wouldn't be effective there---and work on things on the side that made me into someone who could create, do, and change---somewhere else. At the time, I thought the person who told me to stop innovating and trying so hard to change things was putting me down. I felt like a square peg in a round hole. But he was 100% right all along. The minute I realized it freed me to race to the stars. That's what I wrote before I saw you were asking about money 'tip', but I think I'll leave it in case it's useful"

The Irony Is Strong
The Irony Is Strong

"I was 22 and working at a Mexican restaurant. Which is quite ironic because I'm probably the palest white girl I know. My makeup shade is porcelain or ivory and my powder is literally 'transparent'. Anyways, I had just started working there. They made us carry huge catering trays that can fit up to five plates. I didn't quite have the balance down yet and to be expected, when I was trying on to set the tray down onto a fold out tray stand, I dropped the entire table's order on the floor. My face became so red and I remember feeling like I was going to cry. I hated the job, I hated wearing ugly khakis and stupid floral shirts. But I was in college and that's the type of job you have before you get a nice brag-worthy career, right? Luckily though, none of the food landed or splattered on my guests. I uttered every apology in the book, 'I'm so sorry'. 'I feel so bad, I deeply apologize.' 'It's my second day...' etc. The cook was mad but he remade my entire order. This time I set the tray down perfectly, served my table and once again apologized for making such a messy mistake. My table was polite but they didn't talk much to me or attempt to conversate so I figured they hated me. 'Oh well', I told myself. 'I tried my best and that's all I can do.' I gave them the bill shortly after asking if everything was alright. They said the food was excellent. I remember being glad the food could make up for the mess I made earlier. When they left, they ended up leaving a $100 tip. When I saw it, I really did start crying then. Because even when you make mistakes, some people can see past it and see who you are rather than who you are based on that mistake... I went and got the best pedicure of my life with that money"

Sonic Drive In
Sonic Drive In

"Technically this does not answer your question because I was not the employee but it is a good story about why I once gave a 100%+ tip. I do not remember the exact amount. I just remember it being more than what I ordered. I was at a Sonic. The menu has a little symbol on it with a wheelchair (standard disability symbol) that says if you need special assistance, please contact a carhop (employee). For anyone that doesn't know, Sonic takes your order through a speaker as you sit in your car outside. I am deaf. I push the speaker to order. I put my hand on the speaker. I tell them that I am deaf and need someone to please come out and take my order. I have enough residual hearing to usually tell if someone is talking but I cannot make out the words. I put my hand on the speaker for vibration to be sure because speakers at Sonic seem to be harder to hear or maybe it was the masking of the car noises and other people ordering. Any way you look at it, I needed help. Each time I would do this, someone would talk back. I have no idea what they said but I kept repeating that I am deaf and needed someone to please come out and take my order. I would wait about 10 min. No one shows up. I try again. I did this about four times. Yes, I was still patiently waiting. Finally someone comes out. She looked a little flustered and she approached me at a fast pace. She tells me she cannot take my order out here because the computer is in the restaurant. She was young and I could tell she just didn't have much life experience. So I simply showed her my hearing aid, explained that I lipread and talk but can't hear and I need her to go get paper and pen, write down my order and then go inside to put it in the computer. It took about an hour in all to get my fast food meal. I left an average tip. The next day... I went back. There was some special discount on something I wanted so I tried again. I actually did not expect the same employee but the young lady came out very promptly this time, with a pad of paper and a pen, and a smile. I gave her a tip that was more than what I ordered. Lesson learned grasshopper. It was my hope that she forever remembers this and hopefully thinks when she runs across any other person with a disability. A little help goes a long way. Sometimes karma even pays you back"

That's A Nice Couple
That's A Nice Couple

"Working at a different, much smaller, fine dining restaurant I received a tip that was slightly larger than the previous one. There were only 2 waiters working that night and it had reached the point where it looked like no more guests would be joining and we were close to having all the closing duties completed and getting out early. 5 minutes before the kitchen closes and we stop accepting tables and in walks a couple who are met by my fellow, very evidently displeased, waiter. He seats them and asks if I could please serve them as he does not have the patience this late in the night. Even though it was his turn on the rotation I agree and oblige because I had a strong feeling that it would be worth my efforts. The couple were very aware that they were joining late and were very apologetic to which I dismissed as a non issue and that we were extremely glad to have them join us. I wanted to emphasize that they should not feel rushed and went as far to recommend our specialty 5 course food & wine tasting menu. I did not think they would actually go for it but I must have done a good job in promoting it as both of them decided to take it. I was able to give them undivided attention as they were the only guests in the restaurant and it was very apparent that they were enjoying themselves. The lady had a few dietary restrictions which our kitchen was able to work around and they continuously raved about the food. Come the end of their meal I returned to the table with the card machine and I saw the man had written R1600 (~ $110) under the gratuity section on a R1400 bill. I assume he must mean R1600 total which would be a R200 tip. I was willing to accept it as 'money I never had before'. When he was signing the slip he sees the total and said that I put through the wrong amount. I was confused so asked him if I read the number 1600 wrong to which he replied that I never read the number wrong but that was my tip and not the total. I was clearly shocked by this and immediately thinking 'I hope I have not just thrown away the biggest tip ever'. He asked me to process his card for the difference which I did while saying thank you about 100 times over. That same couple returned a few more times while I still worked there and always requested I serve them. They were always extremely generous and on one occasion they tipped every member of our kitchen staff an equal amount to what they tipped me. Every time they came to dine with us my fellow waiter from that night would want to serve them only for them to request me. My patience the night they visited the restaurant for the first time led to me earning a fair sum of money from that couple over the period of a few months which was extremely helpful while I was a broke student"

Whatttt?!?!!
Whatttt?!?!!

"It wasn't me who received the tip, but a Philadelphia taxi driver once got close to $1,000 tip on a $4.31 fare. The customer left a gratuity that nearly made his taxi driver tip over in shock. A Philadelphia taxi driver received a 22,900% tip of $989.98 on a $4.31 fare that lasted less than two minutes. Freedom Taxi owner Everett Abitbol told the Daily News the driver, Oumar Maiga, was shocked and asked the passenger three times if he was sure he wanted to leave that much money. 'I want to do this. I know what I'm doing', the mysterious man said before leaving the car and going inside his apartment. The amazing act of generosity happened after 1 a.m. Dec. 13 when the customer hailed a cab on Walnut St. and asked to be taken home a few blocks away. He asked Maiga how he was doing and the usually cheerful driver admitted he was having a bit of a hectic night. The customer responded he 'would take care of him' when they got to the destination, the company said. Boy, was he telling the truth. When paying the bill, he entered the lavish and somewhat odd figure of $989.98. The customer then wished him a good night --- as if he needed it after this --- and went inside his building"

Tipping In Europe
Tipping In Europe

"I used to wait tables in a bar in an undisclosed European city. Amongst the regular customers were a group of guys whose 'work'...lets just say involved being paid really REALLY well every few weeks. Almost certainly drugs - it was a party city. On paydays they came to our bar to celebrate and would pretty much compete over who could buy the most expensive round. These were the only times I have ever seen 500 Euro notes. Pretty much every round of 18 beers...6 ciders...4 vodkas...etc they would hand over a load of cash and never get their change - this was a major no-no in their world. Every staff member would leave those nights with around 200 euro in tips, even the dishy. One of the guys who was well-respected in the group used to say he was too old for his line of work, he'd come and drink tea during the day, fumble with his glasses and read books up at the bar - an education he says he missed out on due to his upbringing and lifestyle. When I left the country he gave me a gold pocket watch which I still have. He wrote me a note saying in the nicest possible way: 'don't come back' - on reflection his best tip"

The Red FerrariĀ 275
The Red FerrariĀ 275

"Back in my 20s I worked as a valet at a club in Beverly Hills. I thought it'd be a good way to meet girls (wrong) but it was still a great job to have as an otherwise unemployed actor. My boss was only a few years older than I was and we even had a few mutual friends from school. He tended to take all the VIPs for himself but sometimes he'd do me a solid and let me take them instead. On one memorable occasion (this is about 20 years ago) a guy pulled up to our club in a red Ferrari 275. Now I don't expect you to recognize the model but let me tell you this car was gorgeous. Even as someone who could care less about cars there was no way you couldn't look. It was in cherry condition. Turns out, there's been only a few hundred 275s ever produced, something I did not know at the time. My boss actually got nervous when he saw it roll up which was very much unlike him. We often got nice cars and it was always a treat to park them. But for whatever reason my boss INSISTED that I take this one. If you've worked around very wealthy people before, you might not have noticed anything awry. They are usually polite, cold, transactional. Sometimes they are friendlier (like when they've been drinking, or are on coke.) But the guy driving this particular Ferrari came across a little strange. The first thing he asked me was 'So how does this work, do I hand you the keys?' which on its face wasn't all that weird, but it isn't what you expect from a guy who drives a Ferrari. I also noticed the woman next to him was just blankly staring forward, which was also odd because passengers usually try to catch a glimpse of their valet. Anyways I took his keys, put the car into first gear, they start to walk into the club--- and then the guy runs back, almost as if he'd forgot. He hands me a hundred dollar bill and asks me to 'treat her good'. Awesome. I park his (amazing) car in the lot, me and my friends check it out a bit, but other than that nothing special happens for the next few hours. About an hour before closing, I get a call from my boss, who asks me to check the plate number on the 275. I leave the booth, and write down the number, walk back to the booth and tell him. 'Sh-t', is all he says before hanging up. Next thing I know about a half-dozen police cruisers are surrounding the entrance to the club, and another half-dozen are coming up to the lot. Officers are barking questions at me, asking me about the driver and the girl, what they looked like, what they were wearing, who was with them, etc. Turns out the car they were driving was stolen, as were another fifteen luxury cars taken from the same garage that afternoon. While I never heard more about the guy in the Ferrari, the story about the heist was all over the news for the next few weeks. Months later, after the investigation ended, a guy came to the club asking around for me. It was the (actual) owner of the red Ferrari. He asked me a couple of questions, thanked me for looking after his car that night, handed me a $20 tip for my trouble, and went on his way. I ended up quitting the job (for unrelated reasons) a few months after that. During my brief valet career, that was the most money I'd ever make for parking a car. Between the the thief, and the owner, I was up a cool $120. I always found it funny that the thief tipped me five times as much as the rich guy... which is maybe why I don't feel so bad that the red Ferrari was the only one of his sixteen cars that was ever recovered"

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