In America, tipping is part of the restaurant experience.
Since I used to work in the service industry, I’m a notorious over-tipper, but for people from other countries, people who didn’t grow up eating out, or teens just trying to learn the rules, tipping can be a confusing process. Just how much do you leave, and what’s it based on?
The standard rule is 15-20 percent of the pre-tax bill. One waiter was recently surprised when he was just left a small fraction of that after a pleasant experience with four teens. What he couldn’t have anticipated what came soon after.
The waiter posted online that it was “frustrating” to be thanked profusely and then only given a $3.28 tip on a large bill where he served four teenagers.
That said, he’s been serving a long time, and nothing had ever happened like the day a week and a half later when one of the teens brought a note into the restaurant.
The note was deeply apologetic and left him $18 and some change. He posted it online to thank the teens for educating themselves and making the effort.
The note reads:
Dear Mr. Waiter,
About a week and a half ago, on October 7, my 3 friends and I came to eat at this restaurant as our own homecoming celebration. It was an exciting experience for us to be here alone, and it was all new to us. And you were the best waiter we could ask for. You were kind, helpful, accommodating, didn’t treat us like babies, and were even able to fit all the food to all my allergies!
So I wanted to say thank you for making our “grown up” experience so amazing and fun. I would also like to say sorry on behalf of my group. Since we were new to this, our 13 year old minds didn’t exactly know how to deal with the bill. You were super helpful in dividing the check up and taking our not-so-preferable cash. The bill was reasonable, but we had completely forgotten (and frankly didn’t know) what a tip even was, let alone how much to give.
So we emptied our pockets and all of our money added up to $3.28. Not aware of how small this really was, we left, clueless of what we had left for all your hard work. Later, we realized our mistake and felt HORRIBLE. We knew we had to make it right. So in this envelope you will find the correct 18% tip + extra for simply being amazing. We appreciate your help and patience, and thank you for making our night fun. Thank you!
— the 4 teenagers from that night