For this Connecticut waitress, nothing strange ever happened at work; it was usually pretty straight-forward and quiet. One day, though, things were not how they usually are, as a large party pulled her to the side to ask her a question. This is not usually the sign of something good happening, so Ashley prepared herself for the worst.
She was staring straight at the bill, then at the group of men, then again eyeing the bill. She didn’t really understand what they were asking from her, so she didn’t know how to respond. The group of men kept pointing toward the back room and looking at her. She tried to make eye contact with any coworker that she could so she could signal for them to help her, but she couldn’t see anyone in the big crowd.
Ashley Latella was a waitress at the Seagrape Café in Fairfield, Connecticut, where she was working the night shift on the night that these events took place. The holiday season always showed to be a busy time at the restaurant, and Ashley was finding herself overwhelmed with all of the customers coming in to eat. She was always bouncing from one table to the next to take orders and deliver food.
Table After Table
A group of men approached the bar, clearly excited to all be together hanging out, and ordered a round of drinks. They chugged them quickly and ordered some more. When Ashley saw them out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that they were relocating from the bar to a table in the corner of the restaurant. Carlos Carmo, Ashley’s manager, also thought something odd was going on with them, so the two of them paid close attention to the group.
When Ashley approached the group of men to take their food orders, she noticed that something seemed really off with them. They didn’t want to order food, they simply wanted to get one round of drinks after the next for quite a while. Each time she returned to ask if they wanted food, they were quiet. All they wanted was to drink. She could feel them staring at her as she walked away, and she felt uncomfortable. She was confused the whole time she was serving them, and it wasn’t until she brought them their bill that she started to realize their intentions. What could they want from her?
Ashley was working in the serving industry for quite a while now, and she knew that it was usually the tables that got quiet as she approached that ended up causing the biggest scenes. When it came to a table of all men, there was always a risk that they would make her feel uncomfortable. If this was the case, she had no problem asking to switch tables with one of her male coworkers. Unfortunately, switching tables wasn’t an option that particular night, as everyone was very busy. These men would show who they really were, but not until right before they were going to leave.
Out Of Place
The more Ashley thought about this table of men, the more she realized something just wasn’t adding up. The Seagrape Café was generally a place for students to go hang out, so what were these grown adult men doing here? There was no doubt that they were the oldest customers in the restaurant. Maybe Ashley just had good intuition, but she knew there was something abnormal going on here.
Ashley isn’t new to being a server, so she had experienced customers that are both great and horrible. Some guests were friendly, and some were rude and unsociable. Even though sometimes she waits tables of people who are not the best, she always brings her best effort and does her job well. However, she never had a table that refused to pay their bill…
Ashley felt very happy to finally be bringing these men their check. Her shift was almost over, and she wanted to go home and sleep before coming back to work the next day. However, when she came back to the table of men to collect their money and send them on their way, she couldn’t believe what request they were asking from her. What did they want her to do?
When Ashley made it back to the table, she noticed that one of the men was purposely resting his elbows on the check folder, so Ashley physically could not get to it, and when she tried to gesture for him to give it to her, he wouldn’t. She was terrified at this point, and she could feel him staring at her until she finally made eye contact with him. He picked up the folder and held it where she couldn’t reach it. Why was he taunting her like this?
He kept looking straight into her eyes as he pushed his chair back, away from the table he was sitting at, and his two friends did the same. When all three men stood up in unison, the one who was holding the check folder turned his head around and pointed to the back door. Ashley felt nothing but confusion, and then she realized he wanted her to follow them out.
She didn’t know what was going on, but she knew she didn’t like it. She put her hands up as if to surrendor to whatever game they were trying to play with her, but these men would not let the bill leave their hands. One of the guys tried to lean in and whisper something in her ear, but it was too loud in the restaurant for her to be able to hear him. He repeated, but she still couldn’t understand. After a third try, she heard him loud and clear, and her entire body froze up. Why would they be asking her to go in private? She didn’t know what to do.
Her heart was racing and every possible thought was coming into her head. She was searching the room for her manager, but he was nowhere to be found. There was no logical reason as to why these men would want to take her in private to pay their bill. If it was for the reason that they had a complaint toward her, she’d prefer they just say it out in the open. What was their reason?
Her Mixed Feelings
The honest truth was that Ashley was used to guests trying to flirt with her; it was no secret that she was an attractive woman. She could not deny the fact that the man holding the bill from her was attractive as well, but despite feeling this way, she refused to feel anything but fear at the moment. If she knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no way she was going into any back room with any of these men.
Asking For Help
Finally, Carlos noticed the fear in Ashley’s eyes while interacting with these men and he stopped what he was doing to rush over and help her out. Ashley felt a huge wave of relief that she no longer had to handle these men by herself and that Carlos was standing with her. Carlos had a bad feeling about these guys from the minute they walked into the restaurant, and when Ashley explained the situation to him, he told her to take a deep breath and that he would handle it.
He tried not to let his mind assume the worst in these men, so he thought maybe they were simply upset by the quality of service they had just receieved; he just hoped they wouldn’t cause a loud scene here. Both Carlos and Ashley felt extremely uneasy and tensed up about this situation, and they agreed to all head into the back room together.
The private room was not nearly as loud and rambunctious as the main dining area, so they could all hear each other speak. These men quickly confirmed Ashley’s suspicions that the had been looking at her all night. They said something she wasn’t expecting, though. They told her that they could see how busy it was, and they were very impressed with the effort she was putting in. When Carlos heard that they weren’t saying anything bad or out of line, he felt a weight lift off of his chest. When the men handed Ashley and Carlos the bill, the two nearly fainted when they saw what was written on it.
What did the men write on the bill? These men left a huge tip! To be exact, they left $500 on their $112 bill! He simply couldn’t believe it, and Ashley couldn’t either. Did they mean to do this or was it some sort of accident? He thanked them, but then they told him to look at it more closely…
One More Zero
When he looked back down at the bill, his jaw almost dropped to the floor. “I saw another zero,” he said in an interview. He was speechless, and Ashley found herself uncontrollably burst into tears at the sight of this generosity. These men did not leave her a tip worth $500, they left her a tip worth $5,000! What were they thinking when they did such a thing? Ashley couldn’t help but give them all a huge hug.
Tips For Jesus
How did these men have $5,000 to tip their waitress? What was so special about their service provided by Seagrape Café staff? The men explained to Ashley and Carlos that they are a part of an organization that goes by the name of “Tips for Jesus.” The entire idea behind this group is to do “The Lord’s work, one tip at a time.”
Much to Ashley’s surprise, she found out this actually happens pretty regularly. Christofer Nardelli, owner of a four-year-old restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., said that a man who lives very close by tends to come in a few times each month. His always orders the gumbo and pairs it with an Old Chub Scotch Ale!
Every once in a while the chef of the restaurant, James Turner, liked to send out emails to their subscribed customers to let them know about upcoming specials and which drinks would pair best with these delicious meals. Actually, this regular customer came in so often that James decided to email him personally so that he could know when this man would come in next. He wanted to make sure he had his favorite gumbo cooking fresh and ready to go for him.
Paid The Bill
When the table of patrons finished their food and drink, they paid the bill and left as usual. No one noticed anything out of the ordinary until the guests were long gone and bartender Laura Dally went to go pick up their bill from the table. This gumbo-loving regular customer was always known to leave nice tips, but Laura stood there astonished by what she was looking at now.
None of the three employees at the bar could figure out why this man would leave such a large tip on only a $93 bill. Laura picked up the bill when everyone was cleaning and starting to close up for the night, and she froze in her tracks when she saw the number. She knew that she had to go find the owner, Chris, immediately.
The three people looking at this astonishing check were the owner, bartender, and chef. They said that they were left absolutely speechless by the large tip left by this beloved customer. He decided to leave a $2,000 tip for his $93 bill! “I was in an utter daze,” she stated. “I was completely speechless. I had to do a double take.” After seeing this, Laura look at her boss and said, “We need to talk.”
The two of them went into his office and she showed him the bill. “I didn’t know what to say,” Chris explained. “This is the kind of stuff you see in the restaurant business that happens to some guy in the Midwest or the West Coast,” he continued, “You think, who are these people who give these extraordinarily generous tips that just made a server or bartender’s day? And then, sure enough, it happened to us.”
Right next to the line that very clearly in black ink said that he wanted to leave a $2,000 tip for this staff team, there were instructions for exactly how to divide up this money. He said that James should get $1,000, while Laura and Chris should get $500 each. This was incredible, but why did he want to leave such a big tip?
The next morning, Chris sent this man an email in which he very clearly expressed his gratitude, not only for the tip, but for this man being such a loyal customer. “He said he’s very happy with what we’ve built and that he’s proud to be a customer,” Chris stated. The customer also said, “I’m very happy to express my gratitude in that way.”
All of these employees have great plans for how they plan to use this extra cash they’ve earned. Chris wants to use his cash to lessen the payment of his daughter’s day care for a little while, and he think that James will do something similar. 29-year-old Laura of Silver Spring, Maryland said that she intended to spend the cash on the tuition for a summer class at Montgomery College where she is studying occupational therapy.
First Time Ever
“It’s flattering,” Chris stated. “It’s nice to see somebody appreciate what we do and they’re willing to leave something like that for us. It’s hard to believe anyone deserves a tip like that.” Meanwhile, Laura said that she had been working in the restaurant business as a bartender, hostess, and server for 10 years, but had she ever seen something like this before? “Never! Never have I gotten a tip this big. Never.” There was just a simple note written on the bill that said: “Thank you for the Gumbo!”
They Gave Back
Much to Ashley’s surprise, she found out that these three men who left her such a big tip had been traveling across the country and leaving large tips for hardworking serving staff. They said that they left $11,500 worth of tips in Manhattan. Stories about these men started to spread like wildfire across social media, and people came out from every direction to share their similar experiences. One bartender shared their story about getting a $1,000 tip on an $83 bill. What would Ashley do with her extra money?
Pay It Forward
She knew that she needed to put this money to good use and do something meaningful, not just spend it on herself at the mall. She went to a local toy store and bought a ton of kids toys, then donated them to an organization called Al’s Angels. She didn’t want to spend the money on herself, she knew immediately that she wanted to give back to her community. She loved to do this, and this wasn’t the first time she helped people in need.
Even without this generous tip, she was already planning to donate toys to kids in need anyway. “I’ve been trying to gather toys at my office. Toys, blankets,” she stated. Her generous tip from “Tips for Jesus” could not have come to her at a more perfect time. These men did not know Ashley and did not know how generous of a woman she was; this was simply good karma coming her way.
We are sure that these trends that go viral on social media have not gone unnoticed by most, even the extremely dangerous trends like the awful ‘tide pod challenge.’ People tend to have an itch to keep up with these ever-changing trends because it will get them attention on social media, and in this case, we’re so glad that people caught onto this one.
Just A Job
Many servers work long and hard hours and put in their best efforts to get big tips to pay bills; after all, waitressing is not a way to get rich at a quick rate. The most recent social media trend spreading across the country is known as the ‘tip the bill challenge’ or ‘tip the bill.’ This is a heartwarming trend, and one that leaves many people feeling loved and appreciated.
How To Tip
Participating in this challenge is not difficult; all you have to do is match your tip to whatever the amount you owe on the bill is listed as. Some customers are even taking it a step further, though. Studies have shown that recently people have started tipping much less, or even not tipping at all, which is leaving servers in a very bad place. This study even went as far as to say that just about half of the diners at restaurants are always unaware of how much they should leave as a tip.
If you are one of those people who does not know what a standard tipping amount is, we will help you out. It is recommended to customers to leave somewhere between 15 to 20% of the bill as a tip. Still, the people who participated in this ‘tip the bill’ challenge took their tipping a few steps further than most. This was proven at Blue 4, a restaurant located in Northwest Washington.