The $1000 Breakfast Club: How Some Big Tippers Are Inspiring Random Acts of Kindness

A group of friends are hoping their generous tipping strategy catches on.
Here's a tip.
Here's a tip. / Flashpop/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Being in the service industry can be trying, particularly when employees rely on tips to make ends meet. Some customers are generous, while others resent the entire culture of tipping. And then there are people like Richard Brooks, who recently left his IHOP server a $1300 tip.

According to United Press International, Brooks and his party of 10 delivered the tip to waiter Tulio Maldonado in Saugus, Massachusetts, as part of what they call their $1000 Breakfast Club. The members make a point of pooling their money when dining out every few months to surprise a worker with a tip that far exceeds the normal gratuity.

“We kind of do it for ourselves,” Brooks told WCVB. “But the benefit is we get to give this guy the money and he’s going to pay his bills. You get a really good feeling out of it.”

Brooks said the idea came from his brother, who heard about a group of friends in California with a similar practice. And while the objective is to surprise a server with a kind of bonus, Brooks and his friends are also hoping they might inspire others to do something similar. To that end, they chronicle their giveaways on Instagram. The page features footage of the group leaving a $1600 tip, which the server said he’d use to help pay for his mother’s hearing aids. A waitress at IHOP received $1400.

Big tippers are out there. In 2013, a server at an Italian restaurant in Houston got a $5000 tip from two patrons who knew he had recently lost his car due to flooding. And in 1994, a cop named Robert Cunningham offered to split a lotto ticket with his waitress. The ticket hit for $6 million, which he split with her.