According to our 2012-2013 study on How Tips Impact Incomes, waiters and waitresses earn the lowest base salaries in the service industry. The average base is $5.10 an hour and in some states, it may be lower. Employees in the service industry are often underpaid and rely quite heavily on the tips they receive for basic living expenses. Although rare, once in a while we hear of waitresses and waiters who have received larger than normal tips from customers.
The practice of tipping our waiters and waitresses is often perceived as a gift given in return for providing great service and feeding us. The following are five examples where waitresses have received extra large tips, that can actually be used for more than just life’s basic necessities.
1. Recently, the author of CasualCynic over at Tumblr, posted a photo of a receipt showing a $1000 tip. Her mother had explained to the customer that although her family is from Italy, she had never been there. The tipper also included a note that said “Your ticket to Italy. Enjoy!”
2. In May, a Steak N Shake waitress, Cece Bruce, received a $446 tip on a $6 meal. The tip came from a regular customer who had seen the waitress having problems at another table. Bruce said she would use the extra money to make sure she pays bills on time.
3. April 2012, Stacy Knutson received a tip of $12,000 in a box she thought was leftovers. After looking inside and finding the cash, she reported it to the police, who seized it and claimed it as part of a drug investigation. Knutson filed a lawsuit and it was determined that the cash was rightfully hers.
4. Last July, a waitress received an $11,000 tip from John Boc, CEO of Meridian Investments, Inc. Boc had initially told her to add on $1,000 but then whipped out his credit cards and told the waitress to pick one and take $10,000. The waitress planned to save the money to help care for her two sons.
5. Also in July, three waitresses received $500 tips. Before his death on July 7, Aaron Collins requested that his brother “leave an awesome tip (and I don’t mean 25%. I mean $500 on a f***ing pizza) for a waiter or waitress. His family created a blog and a Facebook page called Aaron’s Last Wish and ended up raising almost $50,000. Seth Collins calculated that they had raised enough money to leave a $500 tip, once a week, for at least two years.
It seems that there are many stories of customers not leaving tips, or leaving weird things which generally don’t help pay bills in place of tips. It’s nice to know that there are customers out there trying to make up the difference.
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(Photo Credit: By Andre Bulber/Flickr.com)