Saturday, December 5, 2015

When Tipping Matters

Christmas brings out the best in people. Every town in America has a Toys for Tots drive. Churches put together food baskets for struggling families. Last week, the local newspaper featured five families who are homeless, hoping for a tree or some toys for their children.

Every time you walk in or out of a store, there is a bell ringer with a bucket, collecting money for the Salvation Army.

We all want to give to others who are less fortunate -- and during the holiday season, there is a lot of pressure to be charitable. And I want to help people....but there are so many worthy, good causes...

How can you pick??

Personally, several years ago, I decided I would no longer give to charity. I don't drop money into the red buckets, I don't buy toys for the Toy Drive, I don't pick a name off the tree at Northpark Mall of a needy family. I don't do any of that.

Here's the thing. I will never be rich -- and there will never be a hospital wing named after me. But I want to be generous, especially during the Christmas Season. However, it just never felt like I was making a real difference in anybody's life...

Then this happened....

Years ago, my cousin and I ate lunch at a local restaurant and our waitress was awful. Surly, even.  I was tempted to not even leave a tip. Instead -- I left $10 on the table. I thought this older woman is working at a 24 hour diner, and it's hard, and she is having a really bad day, and maybe today is the day she found out her husband gambled away their life savings or she has cancer.... So I left $10 on the table.

I remember thinking my $10 could actually make a difference in her bad day. And that made me feel pretty good...

Since that day -- instead of giving to charity at Christmstime, I give unexpected big tips to people who are working hard. Mostly waiters, waitresses, baggage handlers, the woman who does my pedicure...well, you get the idea.

Last week, I let Lilly in on my secret.

Lilly and I went to the Festival of Trees. Afterwards, we went to Riefe's Restaurant for a delicious dinner. After 66 years in business. Here is a link to that story.

I told Lilly that the restaurant would be closing before Christmas and we talked about how sad it will be for all the people losing their jobs...

The woman who waited on us has been working at Riefe's for 23 years. Our bill was $23.50.  We left a $20 tip.

Riefe's closing is a sign of the times...and I am sad that this wonderful neighborhood family owned restaurant won't be part of Lilly's life.

But I am SO GLAD she and I shared this one meal...and she learned about Grandma's random tipping game...  

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