Tipping a person for their service or good deed is custom that happens often, but not always expected. Usually you give a “good enough” tip to let the person know they did a “good enough” job. But then there are times you go above and beyond with a tip to let the person know they went above and beyond with their service. Here are the best stories of that happening from the Quora community.
Comments have been edited for clarity. The source can be found the end of the article.
Every year around Christmas time, usually the last 710 days before Christmas, I look for opportunities to reward excellent service by tipping 100%. The most I have tipped in the scenario was about $250. I was out to dinner with the family and our bill came to about $250. I just transferred the total to the tip line and added it up. the bill came to just under $500. The waitress came back to pick up the bill and glanced at the slip in the binder and started to cry. She thanked us and said I have been picking up extra shifts so that I can afford to get my daughter what she wants for Christmas, but I just havent been able to save up enough to get her what she wants. Your generosity tonight will allow me to get her what she wants and afford something nice for Christmas dinner.
Thank you. I always make sure to let them know that they earned that tip by offering excellent service and that I am sorry that all her customers are not able to do the same.
The only time that this backfired on a waitress was when I told her that I was in the habit of tipping up to 100% for excellent service and wanted her to tell me what she thought she should get. She said I dont know… maybe 25%. I tipped her 50% and told her Dont ever sell yourself short. I would have tipped you 100% but you didnt realize that you deserved that, I have tipped you 50% instead of 25%. Merry Christmas. I stopped asking after that and just tip when I think that someone deserves it.
I was in a local restaurant for a business meeting. As a freelance author with a compromised immune system and an autism diagnosis, I do not maintain a home office and am uncomfortable with the idea of going to the persons home. If they have an office, I will usually meet them there, if not (say they work from home) then I will recommend a popular restaurant.
On this occasion, the individual said he was a soldier (which I doubt) who had traveled the world (which I doubt) and was seeking someone to ghostwrite his memoirs.
So anyway, this guy is talking to me in this restaurant in our international city and at other tables there are Germans, Russians, Middle-Easterners (including some obvious Muslims), Hispanics, Latinos, and African Americans. No doubt other members of the LGTQIA community (My labels? Hispanic, Cuban, gay, autistic). The food is good, the service excellent, the place stays busy.
During our meal this guy is telling me all these tale tales, and he is complaining about the service, our African American waitress, the other clientele, and he uses probably every racial or intolerent slur Ive ever heard and a few I had not.
He insulted everyone there many times over.
Long before the entree was finished, I got fed up and told him that I could not work with him. He asked me to pick up the check including a large bar tab. I said, No. When he demanded to know what my f-ing problem was. I told him I did not work with bigots or racists. He then applied several slurs to me, some accurate, some inaccurate. The waitress came over and asked if there was a problem. I said yes. He told her to mind her own business and called her the N-word and a B#&ch. She went for the manager. More swearing. The manager called the police, and the man finally left.
I actually got up on my chair and apologized to the whole restaurant explaining that the man was a potential client and Id never met him before. I then opened my wallet and handed the waitress everything in it and apologized to her personally.
I still go there now and then but she has moved on, to college, I hear. So other people must have tipped her well just as I did.
Good for her.
$25 on a $25 haircut. Thats a 100% tip. See, my math skills are amazing.
I liked the haircut, obviously. But the lady also did a scalp massage when she washed my hair.
I knew that they kept my information and notes about me in their computer system for my next visit. I wanted to make sure she put good tipper in my notes, so I would get good service the next time.
It worked. Ive been getting great service there every other month for several years.
My brother, sister-in-law, husband and I went out for Sunday lunch at a popular restaurant one day. My brother was a strict ovovegetarian, and didn’t eat any meat, fish or chicken.
The rest of us were meat eaters and decided on the restaurant because they had a good variety of meat and veg dishes.
So, the waiter came to the table, took our drinks order, and then gave us the time to decide our mains… I took a steak, hubby took some ribs and, if memory serves, my sister-in-law took grilled chicken.
My brother took a pasta type thing with noodle (obviously), sauce and cheese,and mushrooms. This dish was available with chicken as well. But, as my brother was really, really strict with his diet, he chose the veg option. The waiter came, took all of our orders and my paranoid brother told her Three Times that he didn’t eat meat, fish or chicken, so please, don’t get his order wrong. All of the dishes were very different in appearance, so we weren’t too stressed about getting our individual orders mixed up.
The food came. Waiter was quick, friendly and helpful. So, total win!
Until my brother was a third of the way into his pasta, and bit into a piece of chicken.
I thought he was going to throw up.
The manager was called. I swear, if that guy could go paler he’d be dead. My brother isn’t the worlds most soft spoken person, he told the manager that, he told the waiter several times that he was a vegetarian, he knows she got the order right, and she’s been nothing but awesome whole evening. The problem was the kitchen. Upon investigation, the manager was informed that they ran out of the veg pasta dish, and decided to remove the chicken from the regular one.
My brother swore never to return to the restaurant. The manager, being a good guy, then decides to comp the entire meal. The bill was about ZAR400. That’s roughly $30.
My brother told him it’s not necessary. The meal was replaced with something else, I think he got nachos, and the other meals were fine. Manager insisted. And came to our table with the R0.00 bill.
So, we gave the entire meal value to the waiter as a tip. Because, we weren’t after a free meal. It was the principle of it all. Besides, throughout the whole debacle, the waiter kept her cool, and did her job. She immediately called the manager, didn’t try and cover up, recommended a replacement, made sure it was correct and kept my brother happy (sort of).
We live in SA, and I think, part of that decision was to prove to the manager that this wasn’t about getting something for free. Post Apartheid, eating in formerly white areas was still a novelty, and as Coloured people, we didn’t want to even create the impression that we were trying to freeload
True to his word, my brother never went back to that place.
It was completely by accident, and it wasnt even my money.
Let me explain…
Before I dropped out of Purdue, I used to study Computer Science.
Every other night or so, my friends and I would gather in our dorm lobby, order food, and study/talk about our day.
It was usually a group of 45 of us.
My friend H was the guy that always used to order the food, and wed Venmo him back.
This night in particular, I suggested we order from somewhere else on a food app rather than from our usual cheesy bread place.
As Im finishing taking everyones order, I ask H how much we should tip.
22% thats should be good, he replied.
As I went to type in the amount, I typed in $22.
Wait… I said in disbelief while looking up at H and our friends.
So.. uhhhh… I just tipped the guy $22 instead of 22%…
WAIT WHAT, H replied.
For us broke college students, that was quite a bit.
So for a $15 snack we tipped the guy $22.
Thats probably the most Ive tipped someone in comparison to the amount we actually spent on food.
That was the last time I was allowed to order food from Hs phone.
I once paid the guys who washed and vacuumed my car 50 SGD when the service was supposed to cost me 10 SGD. Told them to keep the forty and split it amongst them.
Background story (based in Singapore):
I’m actively involved in my church and it was a month prior to Christmas. We decided to build a manger for the nativity scene and we needed stacks of hay to make it more realistic. I had no idea where to get hay, so I started calling some of the stables in Singapore, and one of them was able to hook me up.
When I drove to the stables, I walked in and told the lady I’m here to collect the hay. They got their staff to carry it to the parking lot, and they asked me wheres your truck?
I drove a 2005 Toyota Vios.
Turns out each stack of hay was about 6 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet (rough estimate). Since it was so near to Christmas and I wasn’t about to go back without my hay, I got the guys to help me load it into my car. After an hour of trying every possible position, I got one into my boot, one into my rear passenger seat and one into my front passenger seat. I could not look at my side mirror, so I had to drive really slowly halfway across the island to get back to church.
When I finally got back to our church building, a few of our youths were around, so they helped me offload the hay. They had to run off soon after that. I was left alone to deal with the nightmare that was my car.
I was so distraught I didn’t know how to drive home for that night. I slept on the church carpeted floors not wanting to deal with the mess in my car.
The next morning, I drove to one of the local petrol stations that had a car wash/vacuuming service? The boys took one look at the car and cracked up laughing. They got to work immediately, and 40 minutes later…
When the guys finished washing and vacuuming my car, and told me it wld cost me 10 dollars, I was nearly in tears. I gave them the $50 (400% tip), and told them they earned it. I’m quite the messy/disorganised (some might even say unhygienic) person by default, but that was the first time I felt so grateful for my car to be cleaned.
I am not a very rich guy so I have not done big time tipping. However I do to tip the minimum required. There have been a few incidents where I have tipped more than the norm. One such incident happened when I was in Freshman year at a Diner with my uncle and aunt. A lady, possibly in her 50s or 60s was our server. She did a good job getting our dishes and making sure we got everything we wanted. After we were done eating, she returned , this time, much less upbeat and asked us if she needed to get the check. We replied in affirmative. She returned in 5 minutes with the check and started taking out the dishes , as she was doing, she started sobbing. We were surprised as to why this same lady who was so cheerful and happy sometime ago , started to cry all of a sudden. My aunt asked her Are you okay, sweetie?
She replied I am sick, very sick . I have cancer and these guys just dont understand, I am really tired (I dont know what was the problem between her and the management there). At that very moment, I realized how bad her situation was. Regardless of who is right or wrong, this woman has cancer and I have been around cancer patients ( My grandma, My Dad) to know what a hard fight they have to fight and here she is doing all the tables, walking and running around trying to make people smile. My Aunt paid for the dinner and did give th her a good tip. As we were leaving, I just walked near her and slipped in a $20 bill in her pocket, as I knew she would not accept it if I asked. I just whispered in her ears Stay strong, you will be fine.” She smiled this time wiping her tears and gave me a hug.
That is most I have tipped someone I guess as far as I remember. This was Exeter Diner in Exter township of Berks county. Please, nothing against the Diner, I have met the owners there and they are very generous people. I really dont know who were the ones who gave her problems, the management ( who work under owners), the co workers or some customer. This is a good diner.
2 months wages.
I was travelling in Aswan, Egypt in 1990 on my honeymoon. We got off a train and this old man tries to take my bag. I struggled to fight him off but he was wirery and determined. The tour guide explained that he wasn’t trying to steal my bag he just wanted to help me out.
I told the guide that I didn’t need help but he said it was the custom to accept help and tip a little bakshish. I didn’t have any local currency so I gave the old man an American $20. Oh my God. People came from everywhere wanting to help us. We were swarmed.
Our tour guide explained that military personnel get about half that for a month of duty. This was more money than this man had in his life.
P100 for a P774 meal
First of all, unlike most Western countries, tipping over here is not required. Oftentimes, staff will not even take it against you if you do not leave a tip. Of course they would be happy if a tip is given. Pretty much like a bonus to offic employees.
Considering my meal, which is P774, one would often pay P1000 for example.
The change would be P226. It would be:
- 2 P100 bills or 1 P200 bill
- A P20 bill or 2 P10 coins
- A P5 coin
- A P1 coin
Most of the time, you would get your P200. Some people would get all the change. Some would get all the bills (they are more convenient to take and keep) and leave the coins (heavier and will add that clang clang in your bag).
In fact some might even give the P20 change as 2 P10 coins since customers are more likely to leave it behind compared to a P20 bill he/she can easily take with the P100s.
As a staff for that kind of restaurant, it would be a very rare sight if you see a P100 bill left in the check tray. This would have made our waiters day and he would definitely have shared it to his fellow staff afterwards.
We gave a server $20 when we had a $30 dinner bill.
The table next to us was horrible. The customers were demanding and rude and the poor waitress was just as patient as she could be. The restaurant was packed and the kitchen was backed up, but it wasnt the servers fault. She was doing a great job managing her tables, refilling cups, bringing extra napkins, explaining every single item on the menu for someone who ultimately decided to order a plain hamburger.
The rude table had a party of four and when they left we saw that they had only given her $2. We saw her sigh as she collected the crumpled bills from the table after the customer left.
So, we left a $20 bill to cover our service and the other table’s service, and to let her know that we saw and appreciated the fact that she was going above and beyond what was required.
When Zero was the best tip you can give.
Sometimes life can have its twists and turns and work in strange ways. This was a new outlet that had opened at a Major shopping mall in Dubai and I decided to try it out. There was a beautiful Russian hostess standing outside who smiled and welcome me inside. She asked me how many people were going to join me – I replied – just me. And so – I was escorted to my table and I sat down there with my black book for creative idea – when my waitress – wearing a black waitress uniform with an apron bearing the brand logo arrived. To my shock – my waitress was someone I knew – A manager of a company. And I recognized her immediately as I was the young crazy hyper enthusiastic sales man working for a bank – I used to go to her company asking her to slip-in my flyers (for credit cards & loans) and she used to always help me in work. I would always try crazy and creative stunts to make sure people would remember me. And even though she was strict and feared by others – this well built African American lady was always nice to me. She was there for me as a friend who cared.
Overjoyed, I introduced myself to her – as now I had tattoos all over my body – to which it brought a flood of good memories for both of us. But then I asked her about how comes – from being a manager – she ended up here? To which she quickly let me know the sequence of misfortunes that plagued her – from her job loss, to her childs death, to her divorce, and to a collapsed investment which brought her down to zero. But she remained upbeat about life as she told me with her new charm that she was still a survivor. I smiled as I listened to her say this.
I then gave her my order and proceeded to wait – when an Arab man sitting far ahead started to call on her angrily. He proceeded to shout and scream about his order being late. And then went on a tirade about how stupid she was and how pathetic her service was.
No sooner all that drama escalated – the manager, a Lebanese Man, came running to deal with the situation. I looked carefully as the Manager listened to what man had to say, as he kept apologizing and smiling – and as expected, kept bowing his head – as if he were a slave to that Arab customer. But that Arab customer just walked off with a slew of racial & personal attacks on the poor woman. And after he left, I was expecting the manager to give this poor woman an encouraging boost after all she had gone through. Instead, he turned around and racially belittled her for her incompetence and even told her that he wanted her to resign and get out. And after saying that, he stomped off.
My African American friend was pretty hurt. I watched as she quietly walked into the kitchen to continue doing her work. After a few minutes she came and delivered my order. I looked at her and our eyes met.
I saw tears of hurt, sadness and hurt well up in her eyes. She felt humiliated and embarrassed to know that I – a young boy who was once helped by her – who saw her as a boss, an authority figure – was now having to serve me and having to watch her getting stripped of her dignity publicly. She looked down as tears flowed down from her face. She excused herself and went inside – to hide her tears. While I sat there – feeling horrible, terrible and miserable. What was supposed to be a relaxing day out – turned out to be really unpleasant moment. However, given that I knew how to relax my mind and my thought, I closed my eyes, meditated for a few seconds allowing myself to zone out, and once I felt I was in a position to think clearly – I knew what to do.
I had my meal and then called on my African American friend, thanked her for the meal paid the bill with a zero tip and then made my way out. As I did make my way out – I saw my beautiful Russian hostess standing there as usual – to which I asked her if I could have a business card of the outlet and feedback form.
The Russian hostess immediately went inside and got me the general business card with all the information on it. I also made it a point to note down the Outlet Managers name and his details. And then I took the details for the parent company that this brand was under. Once I had all the information, I thanked her and left.
Within 24 hours, one very touching email was sent to the General Manager of the Group about the incident – including a very clear explanation to the media & newspapers contacts I had, and the bloggers I knew who would make sure that this brand and the outlet would get the necessary recognition for its rather racist manager. I also let him know that the lady working there had inspired a generation of people like me and that she was the true leader – not that idiot.
And finally – I let the management know that if they had not given her a recognition for her leadership and excellence in service – I would personally send her the money from my side – while making sure there was enough media attention to this matter. And finally I let him know that I spoke to them from the capacity of being 1) Their customer (so he better respect me) 2) A well-connected media person (so he better respect me) 3) A blogger with many connections to bloggers (So he better respect me).
Almost immediately I received a phone call from the General Manager’s Office and I got to speak to him first hand about the incident. And then he let me know that he would personally look into this matter. But he requested for a week. I let him know I would wait for his call. Within 4 days I got a call, letting me know that they looked into the matter and found out that the manager was indeed wrong.
And they had transferred him to another outlet and had also give him a warning letter. And as matter of courtesy and acknowledgement, they had given this lady a compensatory amount for the grievance caused. And he also let me know that at the end of the month – they were giving her also the best employee of the month award. I let the GM know I would be following up on this. And rightfully as he stated and staying true to his word – at the month end – she did get her bonus. He was generous also in letting me know that they had also dispatched a few gift voucher meals for me for all the inconvenience caused to me – which I very gladly accepted.
After a few weeks – I decided to drop in again to the outlet. Once again, the beautiful Russian hostess was standing there. This time she recognized me and welcomed me back (guess with my tattooed face – everyone could). I went to the exact same table and sat at the exact same spot.
I waited for my friend to arrive however, found a new server who was there instead. I inquired about my friend and was told that she had been transferred to another outlet. Worried that maybe I got taken for a ride – I thanked the lady and instead of dining at that place – I decided to check out the other place where apparently my friend was transferred.
As I drove down to the outlet – I kind of had this horrible feeling that what I had done had backfired on her and what I was told was in reality maybe not done. I was angry, upset and once again – worked up. I landed at the outlet to be greeted by another hostess. And as soon as I was seated – I asked for my waitress friend by her name. The hostess said, Oh yes, she is here. I will ask her to come.
Feeling irritated and anxious, I waited, when sudden my friend appeared. This time – she wasnt wearing her standard black waitress uniform with the apron having a bright logo. She was dressed up in an Elegant Black Suit with a nice shiny badge – which read her name with the title manager.
She looked me came happily forward and then we hugged each other. I asked her how she was – to which with tears welling up in her eyes she told me Thank you my dear, thank you so much for whatever you did for me. I tried to play possum and I denied the statement telling her I have no idea what you are talking about – to which she replied Loy, I have known you as a young boy. And if there is one person and only one person in the world who would break rules and do something crazy – that one person would only be you. I know it’s you
I smiled trying to hide my tears in my eyes. While she smiled in acknowledgement thanking me for whatever I did. You see, that day – I could have left some money with the bill. But that would remind her of her bad moments even more. For a woman of pride who once held the position of a manager and power – to be given a tip by a boy she once helped – that too in a moment where she was embarrassed publicly – would hurt her even more. So I decided at that moment – I wouldnt tip her and destroy the last shred of self-respect she had on herself. Instead – I decided to fight for her. And that is exactly what I did. And I succeeded.
To be frank and honest, I didnt do anything great. Nothing at all. I just did what I felt I should have done. In the end – for all the years that she was there for me – I finally was able to give her something in return.
Instead of a few coins and a tip – I gave her what she truly deserved – love, respect, friendship and honor.