Most people don’t bank on kind strangers going the extra mile, but that’s exactly what happened for Roseville, California, waiter David Fabila. In September 2018, Fabila waited on two brothers, the Berrs, at the House of Oliver wine bar. He said he made an effort to give them a good meal, but he was starting to flag after working a full shift at another job.
Then, Fabila was stunned to see that the brothers left him a $20 cash tip … on top of another tip of $191.35. It was the price of their entire meal. The brothers had decided to match the cost of their dinner as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation.
The brothers had no idea that the internet had had the same idea.
“I’m in a position where I have the resources and luck to do this, so why not just go for it?” said Steffan Berr. “I’m really glad I did it. He really needed that money more than I did.”
Fabila ran after the brothers and met them in the parking lot to thank them. He later posted about the act of kindness on social media. Steffan Berr claims he had no idea about the recent goodwill #tipthebillchallenge. This social media challenge has inspired many diners to match their tip to the price of their entire meal.
Fabila has three kids with a fourth to come.
“I told him I can go on for hours telling him how much I needed this and appreciate it,” Fabila wrote on social media. “He then went on to say ‘hey man, I used to serve and saw how crazy busy you were outside by yourself and know what it’s like.’ So I gave him another hug and said god bless you. This kid has to be like 25.”
It’s a much better challenge than the #TidePodChallenge.
The #tipthebillchallenge started in March but really took off during the summer of 2018. It inspired diners to leave a 100 percent tip, giving them the opportunity to do a good deed and majorly brighten a server’s day.
Most of the bills and tips were humble and just meant as a goodwill gesture, putting an extra bit of cash in a hardworking server’s pocket. Others climbed up into the triple digits.
Not every server has had a good experience with tippers.
It’s a welcome change for servers who deal with bad tippers all too often. Since restaurant workers depend on tips to make a living, a good tip can make all the difference. But some estimates say that 40 percent of people don’t know the standard for good service is 20 percent gratuity.
Past tipping challenges have turned ugly.
All too many servers have dealt with bad tippers or worse — people who use tips as an incentive to abuse or harass their server. A much less pleasant tipping method went viral in August 2018 after a man posted about how to get “the best service of your life.” It starts with putting five $1 bills on the table in plain sight of the server.
“Don’t say anything to them,” he wrote. “If they mess up, you take a dollar away and so on. At the end of the dinner, however much is left, is their tip.”
Internet users were quick to call him out for the rudeness of this method, pointing out that servers depend on tips for their livelihood. Five dollars is also a particularly low tip on most bills, making this method just as cheap as it is impolite.
Thankfully, the #tipthebillchallenge has far nicer effects.
Users all over social media were quick to describe how the challenge affected them. Many people expressed gratitude or even hope that they would see diners tipping 100 percent gratuity. A persistent message was that servers are underappreciated and underpaid.
“Just so everyone knows, servers don’t make an HOURLY wage!!,” wrote Twitter user Patience. “The ‘2.13’ an hr that they do ‘get’ is taxed in accordance with how much we make in tips. Last week my paycheck was 0.30 cents.”
Perhaps the challenge and people like the Berr brothers will bring more awareness to the needs and treatment of servers. Even if they don’t, at the very least, some servers will have an extra few dollars to pocket at the end of a hard day.
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