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13 of the Most Outrageous Tips Customers Have Left Their Servers

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Servers work for tips and with those tips, they pay for silly things like rent, groceries and car payments. Needless to say, these tips are pretty important to the livelihood of a server, especially for one who works in a state like Texas where the server minimum wage is $2.13 an hour. However, sometimes a customer just doesn’t feel the need to leave the standard 15-20% tip for a server and they choose to leave something else instead. We reached out to servers to see what their most unusual tip has ever been and some of them are quite surprising. Pretty much every server has received religious pamphlets threatening eternal damnation or origami dollar bills folded into elephants, swans, shirts, butterflies, or hearts. Plenty have gotten inspirational magnets that will help decorate a refrigerator, but not fill it with food and someone received socks inspired by The Beatles. Several servers tell about dental hygienists who leave travel toothpastes and dental floss in lieu of tips or customers leaving them gift cards to their own restaurants, but these are the most out of the ordinary tips that servers have received:

1. Tony says: “We had this one regular come in for years, always left $1 tip. Well, one day he left his bank slip too. We kept it and hung it on the wall at my diner.” Yes, the man who was leaving one dollar tips had over a million dollars in the bank.


2. Lynn received a salt and pepper shaker when she was working at Cracker Barrel thirty years ago. If she can’t pay the bills with it, at least she can season her food.

3. This is what Skye has received over the years: “An iPhone X, blow, origami, a homemade ceramic candle holder, a couple of autographs from famous folks, and one beautiful pencil drawing of myself behind the bar.”Maybe someday it’ll be worth something? 

4. From Amanda: “I had one customer who would tip me in joints. He would be like, ‘Hey, you dropped something.’ I would look down and there one would be.” (Apparently, lots of people get weed and cocaine as tips…)

5. Tory’s story: “I had a guy leave me a scratch off ticket once. At first I was annoyed at how cheap he was, but I ended up winning $50! It was a small town, so when word got around, he came back to try and take it back. I said no. So he demanded that we split it, saying that $50 was too much for a tip. Yeah, Bob. And the $0 that you assumed it was worth was far too little. Get away from me.”

6. But Hope has the flip side of that happy ending: “I got a scratch ticket. It was already scratched by the patron ……it was a winner for $1.00.”

7. Brenna’s unusual tip saves her a trip to the grocery store: “I used to work at a place where one my regulars was a fisherman and would tip me in slabs of freshly caught blue or yellow fin tuna!” It’s better than a dented can of tuna fish, right?

8. Jason got a lighter from Daniel Radcliffe:

9. But Michelle got tickets to see Bette Midler “Best tip EVER!!!” she says.

10. From Beth: “I asked a family if they would like dessert when they were done with their meal. They said “no thanks, we’re going to Dairy Queen for ice cream.” I said that a dipped cone sounded really good and told them to enjoy. A while later the dad walked back into my restaurant carrying a dipped cone for me!” Well, that’s awfully sweet.

11. Kariel got peanuts. No, a customer literally gave her a bag of peanuts:

12. Maura might have the weirdest tip of all: Years ago, an older couple met for a date. As I was serving them, they were exchanging naked photos of themselves. Ok, I don’t judge, they are a bit apart from other tables, they are very nice, and they are ordering plenty of booze. As the wine is flowing, the pictures, which they made no effort to hide, get more explicit, involve more people, and they are also describing what they are doing to whom. As I am serving them dessert, the woman holds out a picture of her with her head buried in some chicks muff, clearly for me to see. “My Magic tongue made her come so hard you could hear her screaming for blocks,” she says, then looks me straight in the eye. “Are you busy later? We have a room right up the block.” I made an excuse of being busy with my boyfriend, and dropped the check. For my tip, I got a hundred dollar bill, a hotel key, and a butt plug, all tastefully wrapped in the napkin, with a note. “We hope you decide to join us!” The hundred went into the bank, the rest went into the trash.”

13. But if Maura has the weirdest tip, Jacey surely has what is the sweetest: “Years ago I was left a piece of jewelry. The man told me it had been his wife’s and after she passed he kept it and was holding on to it until he met someone who reminded him of her, and their young life together.”

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Bitchy Waiter

Bitchy Waiter

Darron Cardosa is a writer, actor, singer, and waiter. He lives and and works in New York City and enjoys "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and cocktails almost as much as he hates your baby.

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