This Story Tips Both Good And Bad

, , , , , , , , | Right | May 28, 2020

My husband and I are Australians on holiday in America. My cousin spent about two years working in America as a waitress and has drilled into us the importance of tipping our servers. Even when the service is shockingly bad, including the time they forget to put our order into the system for forty-five minutes, we tip at LEAST 18% because that is what my cousin recommended, and we’re a little stunned that servers work for pennies an hour and rely on tips to survive.

A large amount of staff who notice our accents seem pleasantly surprised when we tip them the proper amount or more. We stop for lunch in a little diner near our hotel and the waitress is AMAZING. She chats with us, asks about Australia and expresses how much she’d love to visit, tells us where to find a specific store I really wanted to visit but haven’t been able find, and is just all-around wonderful.

She is coming over with our refills:

Waitress: “Here we go, guys, here’s your—”

Mid-sentence, a small child who has been running around unchecked for the last half an hour slams into her legs. She drops both our drinks — one all over the kid and one directly into my lap.

The kid’s mother starts SCREECHING at the top of her lungs and demanding to see a manager. The waitress is trying to clean up the kid, apologise, and get us napkins all at once. I clean myself up as best I can and wave her off — I can easily pop back to our hotel to change — so she leaves to get her manager to deal with the screaming mother and her crying child.

She comes back a few minutes later with new drinks for us and is near tears; while her manager had her back, the other woman had said some awful things and her entire party of ten had left her without a tip. She drops off our drinks and we finish them, and she brings back the bill.

Waitress: *Still nearly crying* “I am so sorry about that, guys. I took your refills off the bill; those are on me.”

Feeling bad, my husband is trying to make her laugh.

Husband: “I think you’ll find they were on my wife and that demon kid.”

The waitress, realising we’re just kidding, does crack a smile as she walks off to handle another table. While we were already going to tip her about 25% on our tiny lunch bill — seriously, food is RIDICULOUSLY cheap in the States — for being so wonderful to us, my husband just rifles through his pockets for whatever he has on him in cash and shoves it into the billfold. It adds up to about $60 on our $19 bill, and we try to escape before she sees it as we don’t want her to thank us for it. 

We’re about five steps out the door when she chases us outside.

Waitress: “Wait! You guys, two of these are twenties! I know we joked that you’re used to your rainbow money but you’ve gotta read the numbers. Here!”

She tries to hand us back some of the money and we refuse to take it.

Me: “Honey, no, that’s your tip. You were amazing. Take it.”

The waitress seemed dumbfounded that we had deliberately left her that much, and my husband joked that it was to make up for the gremlin’s parents stiffing her. She legitimately started to cry and asked if she could hug us, which we accepted, and she went back inside.

I’m still stunned that she was honest enough to try and give the tip back to foreigners she thought didn’t understand. We saw her again a few times before we left — the food was incredible at that diner — and she was just as lovely each time. Tip your servers, people!


This story was included in our May 2020 Inspirational Roundup.

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