smallapronCelebrity Tippers: The Saints and the Scum


The true test of  inner peace and civility is in how generously one tips.  All servers know that.  Please tell us what you have seen and experienced, so that we may reward the gentle-hearted and expose the bastards.  
Sources will remain anonymous, of course. 

The Celebrity Tipping Short List
(See below for specific stories)

The Saints

The Scum

 
  • Gov. Lamar Alexander
  • Marcus Allen
  • Tim Allen
  • Andre Agassi
  • Patricia Arquette
  • Back Street Boys
  • Travis Barker (band - Blink 182) - We've had differing opinions on this one - be careful.
  • Charles Barkley
  • Kathy Bates
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Bobby Brown
  • Eric Brown (pro football player)
  • John Candy  
  • Al Capone (found this through some research)
  • Ray Charles
  • Mark Chesnutt
  • Cigarette Man (X-Files)
  • Bill Clinton and family
  • Kevin Costner
  • Courtney Cox
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Steve Cropper
  • Charlie Daniels
  • Johnny Depp
  • Robert DeNiro
  • Joe Diffy
  • Dixie Chicks (band)
  • Len Dykstra
  • Carmen Electra
  • Dennis Farina
  • Peter Frampton 
  • Joe Frazier
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Stephie Graf
  • Florence Henderson
  • Hal Holbrook
  • Holly Hunter
  • LaToya Jackson
  • Angelina Jolie
  • George Jones
  • John Jorgensen (musician)
  • John Kennedy Jr.
  • Craig Kilborne
  • Tom Kyte
  • Kingdom Lee
  • John Leguizamo (actor)
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • Jay Leno
  • David Letterman
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Reba McIntire
  • Kyle MacLachlan
  • Ted McGinley (actor)
  • Peyton Manning
  • Shirley Manson (band - Garbage)
  • Ralph Marchio
  • A Martinez
  • John Michael Montgomery
  • Bill Murray
  • Dikembe Mutumbo
  • Willie Nelson
  • Bob Newhart
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Chris O'Donnell
  • Leslie O'Neal
  • Emeka Okafor
  • "Diamond" Dallas Page
  • Jason Patric
  • Bill Paxton
  • Joe Pesci 
  • Bernadette Peters
  • Tom Petty
  • Jeremy Piven
  • Carmen Policy
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Burt Reynolds
  • Leanne Rhimes
  • Kelly Ripa
  • John Ritter 
  • Tim Robbins
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Warren Sapp (pro football player)
  • Susan Sarrandon
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Chris Slade (pro football player)
  • Cybil Shepherd
  • Frank Sinatra Jr. 
  • Jerry Springer
  • Howard Stern
  • John Stockton (pro basketball player)
  • Bob Tewksbury
  • Yancey Thigpen (pro football player)
  • Sen. Fred Thompson
  • Uma Thurman
  • Tiny Tim
  • John Travolta
  • Christy Turlington
  • Uma Thurman
  • The Village People
  • Brian Westbrook (pro football player)
  • Christy Todd Whitman
  • Robin Williams
  • Trisha Yearwood
 
  • Kathleen Battle
  • Derrick Brooks (pro football player)
  • Senator Bryant
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Derrick Coleman (pro basketball player)
  • Dangelo (r&b singer)
  • Tony Dorsett
  • James "Buster" Douglas
  • Richard Dryfuss
  • Bridget Fonda
  • Phillip Fulmer (college football coach)
  • Al Gore
  • Ethan Hawke
  • Don Henley
  • Whitney Houston
  • Ice-T
  • Allen Iverson (pro basketball player)
  • Jesse Jackson
  • David Keith (actor)
  • Dan Quayle
  • Mark McGwire
  • Marie Osmond
  • Scottie Pippen
  • David Porter (music composer)
  • John Randal (pro football player)
  • REM—particularly Michael Stipe
  • The "Rock" (pro wrestler)
  • Lulu Roman
  • Pete Rose
  • David Lee Roth
  • Ricky Scaggs
  • Laura Schlessinger
  • Ludacris (rap star)
  • Pauly Shore
  • Siegfried and Roy
  • O.J. Simpson
  • John Street (Philadelphia mayor)
  • Marty Stuart (country music star)
  • Sharon Stone
  • Barry Switzer
  • Tech (MTV)
  • The Band (60s/70s rock band)
  • Marcellus Wiley (pro football player)
  • Tiger Woods
  • Usher (rap star)
  • Most major government officials (supreme court judges, governors, senators)—all surprisingly cheap! 15% at best

 

An opera star was fired from the New York Metropolitan Opera because she threw tantrums when her food wasn't right. An example would be too many peas in the soup. Her demands were many, and and they would vary. It was hard to keep them straight. Her name can be mentioned because this was in the news. It was Kathleen Battle. You would think one could get fired from the Met because of some bad singing, not bad table manners.

—Charlene, Virginia City


I work in a popular New York City restaurant/bar, and get the occasional celeb table:

Tom Brokaw—Wonderfully nice, generous tipper. He set up a party for some people on his staff, called ahead with his credit card number and instructed the management to add a 25% gratuity. When he comes in on his own or with his family, it's always at least 25%.

Holly Hunter—Sweet, charming, straight 20% on the check total.

Jennifer Jason Leigh—An odd duck, but she always leaves at least 20%. If her boyfriend picks up the check, you're looking at 18%.

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman—She's great, he's kind of an ass, though he did say he was sorry when he snapped his fingers to get a server's attention. 20% tip.

Christy Turlington and Jason Patric—Regular customers, 18-20% tippers. She EATS. 

Kyle McLachlan—Did a party of 12 for him, and he added a bunch of cash to the already included 18% grat. 
But, he came in with his girlfriend a few nights later, and she paid and tipped 10%.


One of the most polite and generous customers I ever had was JFK, Jr. Maybe it's horrible to immortalize him this way, but the man was truly gracious and wonderful. He would come into this little diner at the airport and never draw attention to himself. 

He'd just sit at the counter and read the paper and eat breakfast. He liked to listen to the banter behind the counter - he knew the owner/cook from being a regular, and he liked to add a comment or two as we discussed politics or gossip or island life. Always left a ten dollar tip, with a thank you and a huge smile. Outstanding. Both he and the airport diner are gone.

—Tigerlily


Walter Cronkite is a pleasure - like waiting on a combination between Captain Kangaroo and your grandfather. He's an icon, and "that voice" ordering a cheeseburger is a bit surreal. Always tips well and speaks to the server like an equal.

—Tigerlily


I had a great experience with David Letterman, but I'm convinced it's because I didn't call him Dave right off the bat. When we did acknowledge that I knew who he was I addressed him as Mr. Letterman, and I think he might have appreciated that. Imagine how many times people scream "DAAAVE!!!" at the poor guy. I just couldn't be that familiar, and I think he appreciated it. Very nice and funny and very TALL. I gave him a Black Dog t-shirt - ever heard of it? 

—Tigerlily


I catered a party for the Clintons this summer, and they were great, but they were in a relaxed vacation setting, so how could they not be? I ran into the President with a large tray of angel food cake. I hope that's not my fifteen minutes. The secret service outnumber the guests at these affairs, and you have to go through a lot of clearance

—Tigerlily


About ten years ago I was waiting tables in a New York area cafe near Bill Murray's home. It was about 15 min. past closing time, and I was finishing my side work when Bill Murray and his brother walked in. He asked if they could be served, and as any true fan would, I showed them to a table. Not only was he the most entertaining guest I have ever served, but he taught me a trick that as a "Foodie" I still cherish. Via a long funny story and a lemon squeezing contest, he taught me that rolling a lemon breaks up the pulp, causing the wedges to release far more juice then an unrolled lemon. In the end he left me a 120% tip on a sixty dollar check. Bill Murray made my week and possibly my summer!! I hope you still treat your servers with as much respect.


I once waited on the artist Kingdom Lee. I'm in art school myself, so I recognized her right away. No one 
else in the restaurant knew who she was, but people tend not to know about artists anyway. When I stammered 
out that I was in art school she asked me about what I was doing and what my plans were. She then gave me a 
$10 bill for a $2.75 check and said, "Keep the change. Someday you are going to be a famous artist and I'm 
looking forward to seeing your work." I felt like I was walking on clouds all the next day. Nice lady.


Oh I have a lot of stories from the restaurant where I work. I will start with just the one about a celebrity 
I waited on. Pete Rose. What a cheap man. When on of the servers found out that he was coming in she 
purchased five baseball so that he could sign them.  They were for five of the server's children. When 
asked to autograph them his response was "You know I usually charge people to get my autograph."  He was dead 
serious, but he did sign the baseballs. Also, during his dinner which involved twenty other guests, one of 
the guest bought him a bottle of Dom champagne for him to share with the guests at his table. Did he open the 
champagne?? No, his responses was "Share it?  No way— I'm taking it home!"


In professional wrestling, "Diamond" Dallas Page has been reported as a good tipper.


I am not a server, but I sure feel sorry for what they go through with some people that are difficult to please.

Anyhow, I was listening to ESPN Radio this morning, and I caught a bit of a discussion on how various sports personalities tips. Some people called in with their stories. You can decide the validity of the tales.

I'll save the good stuff for last.

    1. Tiger Woods was supposedly very cheap, since he doesn't carry cash.

    2. Mark McGwire once walked out on a $40 bill, forcing teammate Tom Lampkin to pay for the meal. No word of how Lampkin tipped.

The good:

    1. Bob Tewksbury (pitcher) is supposedly a good tipper.

    2. Leslie O'Neal of the Chiefs was also praised.

    3. Carmen Policy of the 49ers once gave a $100 dollar tip at a St. Louis restaurant. He is one of the bigwigs on the team, but I don't follow the 49ers)

    4. And in a non-sports related tale, Joe Pesci once went to a Dairy Queen, paid for a $2 Blizzard with a $10 dollar bill and told them to keep to the change.

—Jadcorti


Reba McEntire: Very friendly and very natural, doesn't play "the star". She used to come into the restaurant 
in sweatpants and tee-shirts, no make-up, and her hair up in a pony tail. A very sweet lady and a decent 
tipper.

Eddie Rabbit: Nice guy, but his wife is WEIRD. She used to act like some kind of schizo. Moderate tipper.

Ricky Scaggs: He used to annoy the waiters by talking to them about God and church while they were trying to 
work.

Charlie Daniels: Very down to earth… BIG eater, decent tipper.

Joe Diffy: Friendly, good tipper.

Lulu Roman (of Hee-Haw fame): One weird bitch. She would never speak to the waiters—she always had her son order for her. She never smiled, and tipped very badly.

—Jeff H


You can add country music's John Michael Montgomery to the list of good celebrity tippers.

On my second day EVER of serving, he and two of his friends were in for breakfast in the Twin Cities. At first, I did not recognize him, though he seemed familiar - he is a pretty regular looking guy. Other servers informed me of who I was waiting on, and I just thought they were kidding me. Then came this classic conversation:

Me: "Boy, you know that really DOES look like John Michael Montgomery!"
Co-Worker: "Well, he is. That's his tour bus outside."

To get to the point, he and his two friends were quite friendly and courteous. I never bugged him about anything - just treated him like a regular guest - but he did sign an autograph for a nice hostess, and chatted it up with a couple of other servers. Everyone had a good time in the restaurant that day.

And he left between a 20-25% tip.

—Turner Olaf


I was reading the section on famous people, and I wanted to relate this story...

Waiters, when you wait on someone famous, don't automatically assume that because they have tipped poorly in the past that they will not tip tonight. Perhaps they have not received the service they wanted.

Late one night I had country music singer Mark Chesnutt (a hometown boy, a restaurant regular) come in and sit down in my section. I had already heard the stories about his tipping behavior since he was in our restaurant all the time (needless to say it was on the order of less than 10% consistently.) One thing I had noticed however, was that every time he came in, there was a mob scene of people at his table. It seemed everyone wanted to talk to him and ask for autographs, etc. Well, I have always felt that is the curse of being famous — you can't just go out and be Joe Nobody and have a quiet dinner with your wife or friends without being needlessly harassed. So, I made it a point not to give him any special attention (although I did make it known that I knew who he was), and I threatened all my co-workers with bodily harm if they so much as went over there without a reason or "just to talk to Mark."  I also told customers that it WASN'T Mark Chesnutt over there, and I advised my coworkers to do the same. Throughout their two hour stay only two other waiters (and no customers) stopped by the table, and they were just there to do their job. So he had an uneventful, non-disturbing evening out, and I ended up with a hundred dollar tip on a two hundred dollar meal (and a very nice compliment to my manger on my service). Always give the customer what they want!

—Jack


The slimepit seafood chain I worked at was the only place open late near hotels, so when LaToya Jackson got in late to our small city, she was stuck with us.   She came in with her shady, mobster-looking old man of a husband Jack and two other guys.  (She has claimed that she had never slept with Jack, and it is easy to understand why.)  People immediately began running over to her booth, asking for autographs, both customers and servers alike. I felt sorry for her and embarrassed.   She was tiny and classily-dressed and quiet, but friendly and patient with the many pests interrupting her meal.  She looked great, very low-key and beautiful, without the overdone makeup.  I was sitting in the bar counting my tips, and she walked by on the way to the restroom, looked in, and smiled at me.  I didn't wait on her but heard the server got a par tip of about 15%.

—Wild Turkey


I've been waiting tables now for 17 years, in 5 different restaurants, in four different states. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to wait on a few different famous people. In Virginia, at a Darryl's 1930's restaurant, I waited on a WWF wrestler. I don't even recall his name, since I wasn't into wrestling.

In a Cajun style restaurant in Memphis Tenn. called Owen Brennan's, I waited on Tom Kyte, a famous golfer at the time. Since I can't stand the game it was no big deal again.  One day, at Brennans, a famous soap diva sat in my section. She played Mindy on The Guiding Light. It was a show I was a fan of, so I was very nervous. She was very nice, especially since I ordered her the wrong food.

At the restaurant I am at now, The Aspen Inn, in Bethlehem,. Pa., I waited on my most famous guest. It was the ex-Vice President Dan Quayle. His son was a student at nearby Lehigh University. He had his wife, son , a bodyguard, and some of the Lehigh professors at his table.  He wasn't rude, but he monopolized the conversation at the table with his guests. He ordered duck and a bottle of wine and never spoke to me again. He left a straight 15%tip too, GEEZ !

—Jillybean3


I would like to tell a brief story about waiting on a famous basketball player.  I am not sure on the spelling of his name. His last name is Mutumbo. The first name I will not even try to spell.  He is famous for shaking his finger at opposing players when he blocks their shot. He now plays for the Atlanta Hawks. I worked at a restaurant in Santa Clara, CA at the time.  He came in the place late about 10:30 with a party of 10 or 11. Everybody told me to 15% the table because they were black. The bartender and I were the only ones that recognized him, though we were not sure it was him. I have a policy of treating everyone the same and not stereotyping people. I gave them the best service I could and did not 15% them like everyone wanted me to. When it came time to pay the bill, Mutumbo gave me his credit card (this is when we knew it was him).  He ended up leaving me a 20%+ tip. I would not have gotten that had I 15% him.

At this restaurant I also waited on several Forty-Niners. For the most part, they were all good tippers. One should not always judge people on appearance. Treat everyone the same; sometimes it will be good, sometimes bad. Do not let people affect who you are!

—Scott K.


Thought I'd write in about the celebrity tippers.  I work at a restaurant here in Columbus, Ohio. And one of our semi-regular guests is the former heavy weight boxing champion, James "Buster" Douglas.

Now Buster almost always comes in with around 8-9 kids, his wife, and a few buddies of his. They all order New York strip steaks, 16 oz prime rib, or full racks of Danish baby back ribs. The bill is usually in the $200 range; they take up 4-5 tables (booths actually, because they need room to stretch out in).... and.... tip.... oh MAYBE $10, that's if you're a good server.

—Andy H.


One night very near closing time, I was helping one of the bussers bring in the benches (its good to help out the people who help you) from out in front of the restaurant when a white Lincoln Navigator pulls up. Both the busser and I recognize this car as belonging to Warren Moon (Quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks).  "Shit it's Warren Moon," the busser mutters. I looked over at him and down at the benches that we were slowly dragging and felt a sudden sense of urgency. Quickly we dragged them into the entry way and out of the way of the doors. As we got the benches into position, I saw that Warren was dismounting from his behemoth of a vehicle and was walking towards the door.

When he got within a few feet, the busser cracked the door open a bit and called out, "Do you need any help Mister?"
    "Uh, yeah. Are you guys still open?" asked Warren as his wife or significant other began to step out of the vehicle.
    "Oh, no sorry man, we're closed," said the busser and promptly closed the door.

I stood there for a moment staring at him not believing that he just turned away a famous football player.
    "We're not closed yet retard!" I said.
    "Yeah, I know, but he just beat the Niners tonight, and I love the Niners. Plus, he always stays for hours."

—Greg, Seattle


On two separate occasions I had the honor (if that is what you non-tippers want to call it) of waiting on Senator Bryant. I was waitressing at the Peppermill Hotel Casino in Reno Nevada. Senator Bryant came in by himself and stood at the podium waiting to be seated. I had no idea who he was until another customer brought it to my attention. I approached the podium to see if I could seat him at a table; he then told me he had a meeting with the owners of the casino. I brought him to the table where the owners liked to sit and do business. A few moments passed, and Senator Bryant placed his order with me (decaf, grapefruit slices, dry whole wheat toast). After punching his check in and bringing him his food, and placing the check on the table in front of him, I saw the casino owners showed up and they just had coffee.

That morning the hostess was under strict orders not to seat my station because they wanted their privacy. During this time of vacancy, I really truly wanted to inform them I was not making any money in this empty station, yet at the same time, I was optimistic because surely a senator understands the needs of the people. I was WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! I was a non-person that day even though I was a taxpayer  who was helping to put my husband through college and supporting a six year old child (he probably thought I was not a registered voter). After the long meeting, I approached the table to see if there was a tip—there was nothing. I approached the cashier and asked her whether he left anything with her? Answer—NOOO!!!!!! Today my husband is an engineer employed with Hughes Aircraft ( I am using his internet name). I thank the good Lord my casino waitressing days are over!!!! I did get some revenge that day by telling my regulars I was stiffed by Senator Bryant!!! Take care my fellow sufferers!!!


Football Players and Children
Tony Dorsett, one of the football greats of all time, is a very bad tipper, and on top of that he gets drunk and cusses out customers, and treats people very badly. I was working at a restaurant in Orlando Florida, with an NFL theme and I waited on famous people all the time. Tony Dorsett had to be the rudest, most disturbing customer I have ever served: no tip, and on top of that a little 12 year old boy came up to him with a football and asked him by name "Mr. Dorsett, will you sign my football please?" Tony Dorsett told this kid to go fuck himself, how much ruder can one get???

—Shane S., Winter Haven, FL


The celebs below are one's that I waited on table side and room service.

Marie Osmond-15%, not the nicest of people
Ray Charles-very nice, over 20%
Mrs. Mike Ditka-excellent tipper
Mike Ditka-fair tipper
Willie Nelson-excellent, sometimes 50-100%, great person
Kenny Rodgers-$5 for a pot of coffee
Back Street Boys-very good
Village People-over 20%
Vincent Price-fair tipper, very picky
Ralph Marchio (karate kid)-20%

—ozrik, New Orleans


DON JOHNSON is a 15%er. And he ordered a couple beers; this was during his rehabilitated says. MELANIE GRIFFITH was nice and definitely seemed embarrassed by him. He couldn't have acted more self important. Guess I would have left him too. Good choice MELANIE!

CHRIS O'DONNELL is a 20%er. At first I didn't know who he was, so I carded him when he ordered a drink. That's how I realized it was him. He was a nice guy, actually wanted to go out with us (waiters) and party later that night. His wife wasn't amused when he suggested that he wanted to go out with us. She pulled that leash in. Hope you can still be your own person CHRIS.

BOB NEWHART is a 20 %er.  He has to be the nicest person I have ever waited on, a regular guy.

RICHARD DRYFUSS is a pain in the rear.  I had to call in his credit card for an approval only to get a 15% tip after having to put up with his constant whining and special attention.  He was a real mental case.  He looked like a koala bear in a gray double breasted suit.

BILL PAXTON spent most of his time in the bathroom with his guy friend and ordered a lot but didn't eat a thing. Nice guy, but needs to lay off the blow.  Tip was about 18%.

FLORENCE HENDERSON is a very friendly lady. She smiled and talked to me as if she knew me for a long time. It was nice to see an actress growing old gracefully who didn't resort to plastic surgery.  Maybe that era is gone. I don't remember what she tipped; I'm sure it was fine.  All I remember is that she was interesting and natural. 

—Waiting in D.C.


I worked at a 50's diner in Glendale, CA. One Saturday there was a crazy looking HUGE guy that came in and sat at one of my tables. I was the only person working the dining area, I was waiting tables, bussing tables and soda jerk. Anyways, he ordered 3 hand-dipped shakes, which take forever to make since we only had one blender. He drank all 3 shakes, and left me a tip that was almost as big has his wonderful smile. I later found out that it was Tiny Tim!

—Cheeky D., San Francisco


Recently, a pro-wrestler known as "The Rock" was a customer of mine at a well-known steak-house that has been in business for 50 years. He called ahead and asked for the restaurant to open early to accommodate him, as he was trying to avoid fans. I got to be the lucky fool who had to open and set-up for this joker. He ran me with with this little complaint, ten refills on his soda, too much butter on his garlic toast, etc. The whole ordeal was hardly worth the lousy $7.00 tip I got. While this did average to be about 25%, I would think that a man that has dolls and watches in his likeness could have tossed at least a $20 for the extra time and service. This guy is not a "Rock" to me, just a cheap pebble.

I don't consider myself greedy or ungrateful, I'm just a lowly server and I would tip more than that if I imposed on someone's personal time like that. He is definitely the poorest celebrity tipper I have ever served.

—Loves to Laugh, Kansas City


Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac), at chart house in Scottsdale AZ came in in a black cape thingy, no one noticed who she was at first, cape thing over her head. She's with guy who looks about 22. She's at the hostess stand, all the waiters are like "oh god don't put those freaks in my section"....they were quite a site. both in total black. anyway they put her in a dark table in my section. Shit I'm thinking these people will be weird. I go to approach the table with that well known waiter feeling of  "just fake the smile and make it through"...I'm just at the table ready to take cocktail order and I realize. ITS STEVIE NICKS (I love Fleetwood Mac). well she's the coolest chick...pretty mellow. They ordered like crab cakes and then filet mignons or something. The dude seemed nervous, like it was their first date....anyway halfway through the crab cakes she says "can you just wrap those steaks? I got to go to this party and if I don't make this party they'll kill me."  I say absolutely, obviously, thinking the whole time, these steaks are like $32 a piece and they're going to rot in the car. Well she tipped on the full bill about 20%....if you ever get her in your section, it will be a pleasant experience. I believe she lives in Scottsdale AZ.

Die_bobmcmahon, Tucson, AZ


I was serving breakfast & was quite busy one morning. I work at a very nice resort hotel. Well, I had a nice unassuming couple at one of my tables. The gentleman seemed very familiar but all through breakfast I could not place him. Finally as I was taking his plate I realized he was cigarette man from X-files. (I am a huge X-files fan). He saw the recognition on my face & just nodded & put his fingers to his lips with a shhhhh & a smile.

I returned the smile & allowed him to continue his nice quiet breakfast.

He left 20%.

And I got a cool little thrill.

—Erryn, Blaine, WA


Vladi Divac is an all right tipper but he stinks because he smokes so much!
John Travolta has got to be the nicest man on earth and has a little twinkle in his eye when you speak to him.
The Lakers bench is hard to handle, but they sure know how to tip!

—Anonymous, San Francisco


I had the pleasure of waiting on Hal Holbrook once and he was generous in spirit as well as tip. He was a pleasure to talk with, but only briefly as I could see he was interested in passing some afternoon time with a book.

—llluckylady, Tulsa


Two stories, one probably notorious by now...Scottie Pippen, AKA Stiffin-Pippen, was recently in a sports bar that was not carrying a recent boxing match on TV due to it's high cost (750.00). When Scottie heard this he offered to pay the tab for the fight, so the owner ordered it. Apparently the fight only went a couple of rounds so Scottie reneged on his offer, claiming he wouldn't pay because he didn't get his money's worth. After much haggling, the owner ended up splitting it with him. What a schmuck! 

My other story is about Jeremy Piven. I saw him at a low key restaurant with his parents over the Christmas holidays. As they were leaving, his dad knocked a glass to the floor, breaking it. Jeremy immediately began cleaning it up even after the staff intervened.

—Anonymous, Chicago


Hey I waited in Travis from Blink 182 a few times and he was very nice and tipped well. Other people at work said he didn't but I think they are just crappy servers.

—Anonymous, Corona, CA


Usher, the rap star always comes into the restaurant that I work in. He usually has an entourage and expects lots of perks, as well as great service. One time he came in and left an autograph as a tip - NO CASH at all!! One of his relatives actually does some maintenance for the restaurant and said that Usher NEVER tips and NEVER pays the bill, always letting someone else foot the bill!

The last time he came in the restaurant, he ordered an alcoholic drink and was carded. Our restaurant has started carding EVERYONE, no matter if they look old enough. Usher (who I think is underage, but not sure) didn't have any ID and was pleading with the manager (who was brought in to help the "situation") "You know who I am". The manager DID know who he was and was pretty sure he wasn't 21, so he told him "Sorry".

I don't think he'll be back and none of us will miss his sorry, non-tipping, thinking a lousy autograph from a crappy rapper is good, butt!!

—Anonymous, Atlanta


Although he has a nasty reputation, I've had the pleasure of waiting on Charles Barkley and his wife on several occasions. He was always polite, considerate, and tipped VERY well. Treat him with respect, and don't let other staff members hound him for autographs, and you will be well rewarded!

—Anonymous, Philadelphia


There are days when you should just stay in bed......I was working days at an East Side Mario's when a table for 12 was sat in my section. Being a little hung over (or a lot) and a little cranky at the prospect of that days split shift, my mind wasn't exactly in the game. I took one look at the group of people, and immediately said to one of my co-workers, " Would you look at that fat disgusting slob." My co-worker stifled back fits of uncontrollable laughter, and pointed out that the "fat slob" was actually John Candy. (Please keep in mind that it was right before the filming of his last movie, and he was pretty scruffy looking for his part.) I got my head in the game after that.

PS.....What an incredibly nice man he was to deal with!

—Charlene, Toronto


I was working the slowdown of the lunch shift and when all the servers had been cut I finished my sidework and sat down to eat. No sooner had my ass hit that chair when this old woman with a big gray old lady afro walks in. seats herself and doesn't even pull out a menu just sits and waits. I greet her and ask her what would she like to drink.... "a vodka tonic". Done. She specifically said nothing to eat. After about 6-7 drinks (in the mid afternoon mind you) this old hag demands her bill. She goes to hand me her credit card and I notice the last name is Buffett. (I live in the south and Jimmy Buffett and his parents are locals. along with Winston Groom and his family and your randomly chosen football boys turning pro.) I decided it wasn't her. It's some old drunk lady with big hair and a big mouth. I drop her card off and walk away. the manager confronts her and then she quietly signs her slip and leaves.

Not only is Jimmy Buffett's mom a terrible dresser she's also an extremely poor tipper.

Later he AND his mom came in and ate. Both are poor tippers. And I can understand the old lady missing her mouth but come on Jimmy, you're a grown man!

—Stuck in a Southern City that never moves, Mobile, AL


O.J. Simpson came in with Kato and about 6 others to the Panama City Beach restaurant I work at. They were polite but demanding and O.J. only left 10%. Guess he needed the money for a knife 

George Jones is polite, looks neat, doesn't drink when dining with his family and tips 20-25%. And sent a signed 8x10 to my boyfriend [also a musician]. 

Pauly Shore [down with MTV spring break] didn't eat much, drank a lot and generally was an asshole. A local girl won a date with him and then turned it down!

Carmen Electra was very nice {MTV picked up tab and tipped well}.

Courtney Cox is nice and tips well also.

lyntumbug and billspike, Panama City


I work in one of the better restaurants in a city famed for its food and service. I have waited on numerous celebrities, but the winners of the "most gracious and generous" award have got to be Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. While filming "Dead Man Walking," they ate at my restaurant quite often, and the staff uniformly rejoiced at their humor, tipping, lack of pretension, and just plain "niceness."

—Ken, New Orleans


I'm not a crappy server, and I have waited on Travis From Blink 182. He doesn't tip well at all. Maybe the other server gave him a little more than his moneys worth.

—Anonymous, Corona, CA


Morgan Freeman is one of the most respectful and complimentary diners I have had in my restaurant, a true gentleman. A good tipper as well.

—Dave


A couple of months ago, Al Gore was on a publicity trip through Iowa. One of his aides called the restaurant, and asked if we could open a little early in the morning, and they would call in an order. The person who called made sure that we knew who the meal was going to be for (Gore and his aides). One cook and I were scheduled to open in the morning, so we agreed to come in early to accommodate them. They called in at the scheduled time, and ordered $90.00 worth of breakfast type sandwiches in various forms. Naturally, they wanted many kinds of drinks as well, juice, coffee, milk ..., all of it was "to go". We used boxes to put all the to go containers in, and all the drinks, made sure they had more than enough silverware, condiments etc. The aide came in to pick up and pay for the meals. Paid cash, asked for a receipt, and stiffed us on a tip. Not a dime!!!! Hmmmm, wonder if he will get MY vote.

—Smiley, A city in Iowa


I work at CityWalk at Universal Studios. One busy night a woman with two small children had just been seated and I was totally in the weeds. I was preparing to walk up to the table when I heard a voice saying "Excuse me, we don't have much time. Can you get our waiter?" I knew it was the woman from my section, so before I looked at her I started saying "I'm your waiter and I was on my way over!" in kind of a rude tone. While I'm saying this I look up into the eyes of Patricia Arquette. She said she was sorry and turned and walked back to the table. I was completely embarrassed and made her my priority and everything was great. I speeded her order through and she left me 25%. Very polite and used "please" and "thank you" at every visit I made to the table. Come back anytime, Patricia!

—Scott, Los Angeles


Last fall, I served at a very popular restaurant in Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh is located. This particular restaurant was always busy. We filled up and went on a wait at lunch every day. The daily wait at dinner surpassed an hour, even on Mondays. Needless to say, we were a bitter crew (have you ever met a restaurant staff who aren't?) -- and took both the pace and the money for granted. We didn't value most of our guests because, frankly, there were always going to be more.

Last fall, we met an exception. Chris Slade of the New England Patriots is a true gentleman. He never once acted as if he (or his young, attractive cousin -- a Pitt athlete) deserved any special treatment because of his talent. Neither he nor his guest ever drank anything other than Blue Bubblegum Jones Soda. They were genuinely patient and actually knew what they wanted to order when they claimed to be ready. They refused to ever "run" any of us, and instead both ordered their second or third sodas at the same time rather than at five minute intervals. When asked, Chris looked around and said "You're way too busy to go to the bar for soda every five minutes." How often are our guests aware of how they could be running us -- and then refuse to do it? He was one of a kind.

He visited his cousin at Pitt often that fall and ate with us nearly every trip. Most of the time he sat in either Monica's or my section. If she was bartending, they'd get their first sodas from her and then eat at one of my tables. He always tipped phenomenally. Once, while serving, Mon got 100%. (He always tipped very well for soda at the bar, obviously.) So, servers up there, take good care of him.

Chris, if you're out there, we both quit. :)

—Pollyanna Sunshine, Pittsburgh


Andre Agassi and Stephie Graf came into my restaurant for lunch. They were very polite, signing a few autographs, and Andre left a $100 bill on a $60 check.

—Anonymous, Washington D.C.


I work at a New Orleans restaurant. It's not fine dining by any means, but we have a nice class of customers. One day, Al Copeland came in (he is the owner of Popeye's Chicken, Straya's, and Copelands, needless to say, the man is a multi-millionaire, and he knows the service industry).

He and his wife came in and sat down at a table that I was already serving, his wife yelled at me three times for reasons I still do not understand. (I think one time was because I had the nerve to refill another customers water glass before hers.) She and her husband were extremely rude and demanding.

After their meal, the Copelands left me a $3.50 tip on a $25 meal, and their companions left me triple that on a meal that cost the same price.

I almost never tip out at less than 20%. You would think that somebody who owns a large number of restaurants would understand my position...but either way.

I just thought I would share my tale of woe.

—Susan, New Orleans


I waited on Kathy Bates and Henry Thomas (with 4 others) a few years ago when they were in Dallas shooting a movie. She was quite gracious, quiet and a wonderful (20% +) tipper.

—Myrna, Dallas


Misperceptions
One time, a long time ago in a restaurant far, far away, stood me, a waiter working at T.G.I.Friday's. At that time Friday's was a happening place to work and was the "hottest" spot in town for celebrities and singles (My, how times have changed).

I remember this running back from the Dallas Cowboys (who shall remain nameless) was seated in my section. As he was perusing the menu, several other w/w's came up to me to tell me who he was and what a lousy tipper he was.

They said, "He'll run you around and then stiff you."

Well, that was not going to happen to me without some sort of repercussion. So, I devised a plan.

As I took his order ever so politely, I recalled how I used to follow his college career as an All-American back. He seemed quite pleased at this. It was a bit of a patronizing act from me, but well carried out, which I attribute to my acting skills. But, I digress.

As his order came up in the window, I pulled it aside and placed a nice, warm luggy on top of his mushroom-sauced burger. No one could tell it was there, except me. This was going to be my revenge for the lousy tip, if any, I was to receive.

After a few bits, I checked back with him and asked how his burger was. He curteously replied, "It's very good."

"Good. I knew you'd like it.", I replied, smiling all the way.

Finally, when it came time for the bill, I left it on the table, fully expecting nothing more that the total charges.

When I went back to survey the damages and reinforce my preconceived attitude toward this individual, I found much to my surprise......a very generous tip.

I was so ashamed of myself.

I never told anyone the story for years and years and I swore on that moment that I would never do anything as vile as that again. I knew that I deserved some karmic justice.

After that little incident, I never assumed as a waiter or bartender again.

I also learned that one tip is not going to effect my total take for the week or day for that matter. And it certainly wasn't going to rule my service toward any individual. It actually changed my outlook on a lot of things.

I wonder if I've ever eaten a "spit" burger. I really don't want to know.

The Remorseful Avenger


I worked at a bar where the Dallas Cowboys frequented. The trouble making ones. (you know who I mean) I had carried out 5 trays of food for 3 of them that were eating. Got them countless alcoholic drinks and I got 3 dollars!!!!! Cheap arrogant bastards!!!!!

—Rage, Dallas


Leanne Rhimes - 20% and super sweet. Fun to wait on her.

Keanu Reeves - A little confused by the menu but 20%

A Martinez - Quiet and cool. 20-25%

John Ritter - Cool and private. 20%

Frank Sinatra Jr. - Sometimes great, sometimes overly demanding, but ALWAYS a great tipper.

Angelina Jolie and Dad Jon came in...super cool and great tippers I hear. I didnt serve them.

Tim Allen - Great reviews on him too.

—Mike, Los Angeles


Dangelo (r&b singer) was in a very nice bistro with his entourage for dinner one night. They had impeccable service and received a sixty percent discount on there meal ...(over one hundred dollars off) their total came out to over $250.00. They raved about the food then left a $7.00 tip. What's up with that?

—Anonymous, Richmond VA


I was working at a little Chinese Restaurant (CHIN CHIN SUX) on SUNSET BOULEVARD. Not that it was completely filthy and should be shut down because A) the food is crap, and B) they don't clean an inch more than necessary.

BUT ANYWAY... I served Daisy Fuentes and some guy from LIVE and he was overly tanned and dried out looking and she was up to the 1/2 sizes if you know what I MEAN. So he orders one of the hideous chicken salads... she's like yeah I'll take a SALAD, and I'm like ok thank you, she's all NO I'd also LIKE TO ORDER this and this and this and fried rice and blaaaah blaaaah blaaaah I was like ok you're going to need a FEW take-out boxes. Well the thing is... she didn't.

LEELEE SOBRIESKI was a regular and she was angelic.

LUKE from GENERAL hospital should be in ASSISTED LIVING in GENERAL HOSPITAL

Scott Lasky from E! and SEARCH PARTY was super cute and cool... I made fun of him for rehearsing his lines at the counter.. Yeah that first one's a toughie... Hi I"m SCOTT LASKY...

Bridget Fonda came in and I was like NAME PLEASE??? She's like UUUGH BRIDGET... and I was like ok 30-45 minutes, then she's like you can't do any better than that? I said NO sorry. She's like well UMM I'm BRIDGET FONDA... and (being thoroughly jaded by then) I WAS like OK 40-50 minutes...She's like NO really I'm Bridget Fonda, I said yeah and I'm Michael Jackson. She got huffy and I said "quit while you're ahead... you're looking at 50-60 minutes and by the kitchen." (btw she looked like hell)

Diane Cannon tried to pick me up in her black bmw on sunset, I didn't know if she wanted won ton soup or sucky sucky.

Heavy D- doesn't really order that much, but let me say everything on that table was fried. He was super cool though. Much better than ms. bridget whodafu**

—MEE, Los Angeles


A friend of mine was working at the Jefferson Hotel in the restaurant in the Hotel when Sharon Stone came in. Of course everyone made a huge deal out of her and wanted to get her everything that she wanted. She asked the waitress for Evian water. The waitress informed her that they didn't have that but she would get her some water. Sharon Stone through a fit an insisted. The manager made her run out and get the water for Ms. Stone. Then she left a terrible tip. Typical. The more they run you the less they tip.

—Bayou, Richmond VA


Over the summer of 1999 I worked in a Bellevue, Washington restaurant called "Bob's Rambunctious Seafood Restaurant" It was this fish and chips kid themed place that went out of business in November of that year. One day it was really slow and I turned around and Bill Gates just walked in with his wife Melinda and their daughter. They sat in my section which totally freaked me out. I got their orders and Bill was just like he is on TV and his wife was pleasant. A fellow waiter told me I was off for the day because it was so slow and he took the table. Bill ordered a root beer and fish and chips and I can't remember what Melinda ordered. He then proceeded to pick the fish into tiny pieces all over the table. As he did that he started to rock back and forth. By this time, everyone in the restaurant saw him and the cooks checked with him to see if he liked the food. He didn't really talk to them or the managers and just seemed to want to eat and rock back and forth. He then left about $5 on a $38 bill and said on his comment card that Bob's was "kid friendly." It was really wierd and since he seemed to enjoy himself and was allowed total privacy, he could have left $6.

—Colin, Seattle WA


The place I work for invited Jessie Jackson to speak a couple years back. After his speech, I was asked to call an Italian place and ask they stay open late to accommodate Mr. Jackson and his small army so they could dine in private.

They owner was happy to comply, and told them to take their time, etc.

About 2 hours later, I receive a frantic phone call from the server. She is screaming that while she was taking dishes to the kitchen, they had decided to leave. No inquiry about the check, no tip, no thank you for staying open for us, kiss my ass, NOTHING! My boss ended up having to write her a personal check for the meal and tip. The company reimbursed him of course, but in the end they got a free meal.

It's one thing to be a public figure some like while others don't, but nobody ever has an excuse to be an all out asshole. If you ever have the unpleasant experience of dealing with him, watch your table or have a set of eyes on it at all times. There's just no excuse for this type of behavior from anyone no matter who you are.

—Anonymous, Central Kentucky


I waited on Barry Switzer at the Dallas branch of a Chicago Steakhouse a few years ago (when he was head coach of the Cowboys). It was his birthday, and the GM comped his meal (about $200 bucks) and the somfabitch stiffed me! Nice guy, but that doesn't pay my bills, Barry!

—Myrna, Dallas

I don't have much of a story, but here it is. I was waiting tables about 11 or 12 or 13 years ago at a restaurant on Amsterdam Ave. on the Upper West Side. De Niro was with a bunch of people, but he was the only one I recognized. He was very low-key and pleasant when he ordered. They ate dinner but he just ordered French onion soup on a separate check. The soup cost about $3.95 but he tipped me $10.00. I thought that was pretty cool.

—David M., Los Angeles


I bartend in a some what descent live music venue in Minneapolis, in which we get some famous people in. John Randle a defensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings, came in and ordered a round of drinks that added up to about $30.00. I has just heard the valet guys saying how he tipped them $40.00 just for parking his car. On the thirty dollar tab he tips me twenty seven cents and some pocket lint. Another Millionaire cheap-skate. 

The biggest weirdo of all time though is Prince. He has to sit by himself with all of his guards around him drinking warm cognac. His body guards deal with the cash and lets just say I'd make more money selling the glass that he drinking out of.

—Irish, Minneapolis


Bad tippers: 
Marty Stuart (country music star) - 10%
David Porter (co-wrote all of those great Hays/Porter Stax songs like "Hold On I'm Coming - used to tip .25 to .50 on $12 back in the mid-70s, but I didn't mind since I figured I owed *him* for Hold On I'm Comin', plus he was a really genuinely nice guy)

Average Tipper: Clint Black (has been known to tip better than average on occasion)

Great tippers:  
Peter Frampton 
Yancey Thigpen (Tennessee Titans wide receiver) 
Gov. Lamar Alexander
John Jorgensen (Elton John's guitarist and guitarist for The Hellcasters) 
Hal Holbrook (confirming what someone else has written) 
Cybil Shepherd
Dixie Chicks
Sen. Fred Thompson
Susan Sarandon/Tim Robbins (another confirmation) 
Steve Cropper

—Anonymous, Nashville


Warren Sapp , Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Great guy and his wife is a doll. Loves his fine cognac, although we did not carry his $125/shot preference. Good tipper, and treats the server as a person.

—Myles, Brandon, FL


My friend Mark had the displeasure of serving Don Henley one evening in Boston. Not only did Mr. Henley refuse to tip anymore than 15%, but he also refused to tip on the many bottles of wine he and his guests drank throughout the evening.

—Anonymous, West Palm Beach


I waited on Trisha Yearwood a few years back (when here in Nashville she and Garth were a rumor, and Garth was  ' Chris Gaines[lol])--she was so cool--left me almost 50% & couldn't have been nicer

Also saw a post on Marty Stuart--here's my 7%:
waited on him & his dinosaur of a wife-opry "star" Connie Smith (name her hits & win prizes!) in 2 different places---just short of rude, dismissive & CHEAP!
ugh....

—Bruce, Nashville


Emeka Okafor as well as the rest of the Charlotte Bobcats are friendly and entertaining, and most importantly decent tippers. left the check with all of their signatures on the table.

—Mike, Charlotte


While most celebrities I've waited on have been adequate or excellent tippers, one stands out from the rest. Dennis Farina. He of movies and television. Always plays New York type detectives, husbands, etc. I was working at a very nice restaurant near Malibu. He and three other friends come in and sit in my station. I greet them and ask them what they would like to drink and Dennis mentions that someone had given him a fifty dollar bill for drinks being that it was his birthday, so, he'll get the drinks. Others protest while I go off to get the drinks. After they've ordered their food and are all settled in, I ask Mr. Farina if he wants a seperate bill for the drinks. He says, "Noo, here (handing me the fifty) you take this." I don't even think they'd received their food yet by this time. I poo-poo him but he insists and stuffs it into my shirt pocket. I thanked him profusely and leave them to their time. At the end when I am presenting their bill (around $300), he insists on paying it, which he does in cash. Handing me the check folder, knowing he's paying in cash, I ask him if I'm returning change, to which he responds, "No, it's yours". As I take it away, out of sight I look in the folder and he has left me $300 PAST the amount of the bill! A $350.00 tip for a $300 check. Needless to say I thanked him warmly and profusely as he left. What a great guy! Dennis Farina rules!

—Jerry D., New York City


Reba McIntire:

This fine woman is an absolute pleasure. I waited on her during a stint in Nashville years ago. It took me a while to realize who she was, actually was clued in by fellow staff members. I have never met a more gracious and polite customer. Tipped me far more than I deserved. I will never forget her kindness.

Peyton Manning:

Peyton lived across the street from a diner I worked at in Knoxville when he was playing college ball and was a regular (4 or 5 day a week) customer. Never have I seen such grace and patience. I had a regular customer that had followed me from one restaurant to the next for years. I mean I KNEW this woman and her family. One morning Peyton was in for breakfast (massive applause as he walked in, had beaten a conference rival the night before) and she asked me to ask him for an autograph. I was a little uncomfortable with the prospect, after all, he had been coming in regularly for a long time and I had never asked him for anything like that. She gave me two pieces of paper, one for each of her boys, and I agreed to ask him to sign them for her. When I approached him and explained what was going on, and that she was a friend of mine (understand I waited on him rather frequently) he shoved the papers back at me and said "Tell her to come over here". I explained to him that she didn't really want to interrupt his meal, and if he didn't want to do it then she would respect that decision. He looked me dead in the eye and said "Send her over here". I of course relayed the message and she (timidly) approached the table. She was immediately invited to sit in the booth next to him and they talked for around 20 minutes. Yes, she got her autographs, each personalized with her boys' names, and a hug to boot. Peyton was always a polite customer, genuinely interested in the people around him and an overly generous tipper. But I think this one event is what cemented my respect for him. I don't have his autograph (I never asked except that once) but the memories are worth far more to me.

And now the bad:

David Keith (Lords of Discipline, bad actor with a huge ego):

I have never in my life met such an awful pompous ass. (He's not even really a celebrity, he's just a Patrick Swayze wanna be). When I worked concessions at Neyland Stadium as a student (Univ. of TN) he would walk right up between the lines of customers and demand to be served immediately. Needless to say he didn't get much in the way of service from us. We were only working that stand so the proceeds could go to charity, hard to get fired under those circumstances. He is truly an awful human being. I hope that he dies as quickly as his "career" did.

Phillip Fulmer (Head Football Coach, Univ. of TN):

I waited tables at a restaurant on "The Strip". Party central if you're a UT student. Phil came in with his wife and three kids one night and I was afforded the luxury of putting up with them. Phil is an ass, his wife is a BITCH and his kids reflect precisely the sort of people their parents are. Kids ate free at that restaurant back then so the total bill for the table (a five top) was $18.52 (this has been a few years). I received a whopping $1.50 for the tip, after kissing his ass, and hers and putting up with the brats. Y'know, Phil, you're a Head Coach for a nationally recognized football program. Your salary is published in the damn paper (working for a state institution makes your salary public domain). It's bad enough you're an idiot, and your wife is a bitch and your kids are a pain in the ass...I guess coughing up a decent tip is just too much for you. Asshole.

—Edward W., Knoxville, TN


Back in the early 70's Tiny Tim was booked to appear at the Southern Illinois Playhouse near Carterville, Illinois. It was a bowling alley with a nightclub attached. Tiny Tim was in the latter stage of his career and appeared with the Tulips for a one night stand. Not only did the management stiff him (according to his manager) they also had no place to stay and no means of transportation. I brought Tiny Tim, the three Tulips and his manager back to my house, along with a few friends of mine. My mother got up (it was 1:00 AM) fed everyone and Tiny Tim (Herbert Buckingham) played his uke for all of us and entertained all with his stories of Johnny Carson, his humble beginnings, and his life with Miss Vicky. I gave he and his group a ride to the airport that morning, days later I found a $20 bill in my glove box from his manager. Ironically his manager was killed in a horrible car wreck back east just a few days later. Tiny Tim in all of his weirdness was a intelligent, articlate and charming person. This all of course made the local papers back in Southern Illinois. A class act.

—Jerry M., Colfax, CA


Utah politician Merrill Cook is a 10% tipper.  He sometimes beings in different ladies and one of them was really high maintenance.  This one time that she came in with him, they started arguing at the table (crowded restaurant).  She pounded her fist on the table and started sobbing and wailing loudly.  Merrill just sat in the other side of the booth and did NOTHING.  She actually got in the fetal position in her side of the booth and continued her loud sobbing. The owner finally approached the lady and got her to get out of the booth and he escorted her outside.   Jeez- where do these people come from??

—Anonymous, Salt Lake City


The Streets of Philadelphia:

I had just moved up to South Jersey and was working as a server at Red Lobster in Deptford about 12 years ago, when a party of four African Americans were seated in my section.  They were: an older gentleman with his wife, his twenty-something your old son (who is now a crooked city official like his father) and his girlfriend.  People around the dining room seemed to know the one gentleman and were looking at him and his family through corner of their eyes as they were seated.  I had no idea who they were.  I was just a kid from West Texas now working in New Jersey.

A guest from my other table asked me if I knew the older gentleman in the party.  He then tells me that the gentleman is John Street.  A very crooked and corrupt politician. Who knew that this man would become the mayor of Philadelphia in 10 years?

Anyway, they were not very nice guests to wait on.  They were not polite and demanded to have the lunch menu when we were already serving dinner.  The "Street Clan" were a high maintenance dining family:  Needed more sugar packets to sweeten their iced teas.  Extra French dressing on their salads and extra napkins.  Asked why it was taking too long for their food to come when they ordered just not even twelve minutes ago. etc. etc. etc....

They had become the only table I had to care for because of their high demands.  If they asked for something and I came back with it, there two other things to get for them.  I was on top of their game and got whatever they asked for.

In the end, Mr. then-city-official-and-now Philly-mayor John Street paid with his AMEX Gold Card and left me nothing.  ZERO Dollars.  My service to him and his family was not valued.   I was bitter about him for a while but now I'm okay with it. Today,  he is under the watchful eye of the F.B.I. for bribery and corruption while holding the Philadelphia mayor's office.  Also, John Street is considered one of the top five worse mayors in the nation.  I consider this karma.

Tex, Southeastern PA


I used to work on a cruise ship and we hosted the Regis and Kelly show for five days.  I worked on the VIP Services Staff, and part of my job was delivering room service and other such amenities to our guests.
Everything on cruises is paid for afterward or included in upfront cost, so it is difficult to judge percentages.  However, experience taught me that $100 is a decent tip for a week of service.

Kelly Ripa was a sweet lady who had her hands full hosting the show and keeping her three kids together.  She had a nanny, but spent a lot of time giving personal attention to her kids, imagine that.  She and her husband asked that their suite be stocked with Heineken. Every time someone made a delivery to her suite, she would give them $20.  At the end of the cruise she gave her "main" Butler $500.
That same butler was an idiot, to boot.  He lost Kelly's parents and child leading them to the limo.  Kelly apparently went ballistic.  But like I said, the guy was an idiot.

Ted McGinley (Jefferson Darcy from Married: With Children) was an incredibly down to earth guy who was celebrating his 17 year wedding anniversary. After doing his segments for the show, he would hang out at the pool bar chatting with anyone who was around.  His wife Gigi was very sweet, as well.  He tipped $100 to his Butler and another who happened to be standing there. In fact, he realized he hadn't tipped his main butler, and actually came back to his cabin to look for him.

John Leguizamo was nervous about motion sickness, but still ordered a bottle of Moet White Star and Sevruga caviar for lunch the two days he was onboard.    He was very relaxed, not at all like his public persona, but his kids were very  excitable, but in a funny kid way.  He was nervous about motion sickness, and sure enough got sick the second day.  He was very thankful and ended up tipping about 200 before all was said and done.

Regis Philbin.  $60 for five days of attentive service.  A quiet old man, who's wife and friends were high-strung. Apparently told one Maitre 'd that he was the worst he'd ever encountered.  I was relieved when his wife left two days early.

—Josh, Kansas City, MO


During Texas Relays (a national track meet that draws a lot of pro athletes to Austin), I have served many celebrities.

The best tipper I have ever had was Eric Brown, safety then of the Houston Texans. He would place orders that ran about $150-200, and never left less than $60. The bar was ridiculously crowded, and he never waited more than about a minute to be served.

The worst tipper was Marcellus Wiley of the Dallas Cowboys. Placed an order that ran over $700, and dropped me $20. It took me forever to make all the crap he ordered, and I was neglecting other customers the whole time because he ordered nonsense fruity girly drinks for himself and his whole crew. He was released the next season because he sucks.

—Mike, Austin TX


ALLEN IVERSON -  Came into the place I worked at (although I didn't wait on him) he (or his friends) threw his bachelor party in a private room with around 20-25 people.  Ran the waitress, very particular, demanding, ever-changing requests.  Very rude crew.  Very loud.  His mother paid the initial bill (food and all alcohol drank to that point) and she left.  However, they continued to drink for a period of time after mommy left.  At which point, the remaining guests left and A.I. left  with the remaining members of his posse ( about 4 of them) and decided to leave without paying the remaining bill (which was just over $200.00.)  When the manager met them by the front door, A.I. threw 2 one hundred bills on the floor and walked out pissed ( he didn't think he should be charged)  He also doesn't like to be waited on by anyone other than a hot African American woman.  I had many hot African American friends who were servers there that informed me of that fact.  He also expects to be treated differently in Philly.  i.e. parking in handicapped spots wherever he goes... especially T.G.I.Fridays on City Line Avenue.  I RUN from him.  Not cause I'm afraid....only cause I'm disgusted.

MAYOR JOHN STREET - Just plain rude.  I worked as a banquet captain.  Some "official city office" was throwing some kind of luncheon shindig where our loser of a mayor was coming to speak at for all of 5 minutes.  Everyone was creaming their jeans cause THE MAYOR WAS COMING....OOOOO....The mayor showed up while the second course was being served to 35 people....of course the staff was serving food and this made our honorable mayor ANGRY.  He stopped his speech, shot me a look and told me to "Stop my staff from serving"  Well, me and my personality, knowing that HIS staff was under investigation for SUCKING, wanted to return the sentiments by saying "could you stop YOUR staff from serving?"  But, you know, when the money's good......you just shoot HIM a look and smile.  He got my point.  Total jerk

CHRISTY WHITMAN - NJ GOVERNOR at the time - She and her staff were very nice....actually conducting a lunch AND talking about things related to her job.  Nothing I could really hear or cared to listen to, but you could tell there was a job to be done.  Don't remember the tip, not really important when they treat you like a person just trying to make a living.  Thanks.

DERRICK COLEMAN - 76er basketball STAR....I didn't wait on him but there were a set of twins...it was their first night serving at the restaurant I worked at....he came in with 5 other people.  They drank  champagne and assorted cordials...ate apps and meals....the bill was $700.00 and he tipped $20.00.  Nuf said.

BRIAN WESTBROOK - Philadelphia Eagles - came in a few times.  REAL NICE guy....from what the bartenders said....and he was a cool tipper.  But even without the tip.....he rocked.

JOE FRAZIER - world champion boxer - great story, I was bartending one afternoon...he came in with two women (his daughter and her friend...with their kids...3 of them)  They all sat at the bar however, children were not allowed to sit at the bar.  He ordered some sodas...they all sat at the bar.  i told him I'd get their drinks but the kids had to sit at a table with their parents. He was a little baffled but understood.  So the ladies and the kids sat at a table and he sat at the bar.  Then he mentioned that the barstool was "wobbly" and that the establishment could eventually have his name added in if he fell.  (He was being funny) And I said to him (not knowing who he was) "Oh yea, well, my name is first, you wanna fight"  And he said something along the lines of "Yea, we can fight"  Mind you, he was sooo nice.  Great guy.  Then the manager came up to me around 30 minutes later and asked if I knew who he was.  (No, I didn't)  He told me it was Joe Frazier and I almost shit.  It was funny.  And he was soooo cool.  He drank Diet Coke for hours while his grandkids played.  He was cool.  Gave me his autograph too.  Still have it.  Don't recall the tip, but it didn't matter.  I asked Joe Frazier if he wanted to fight and he didn't knock my lights out.  Thank you, Mr. Frazier

—Fun with Celebs, Philadelphia


Burt Reynolds came into the bar I manage tonight, and was very pleasant! He sat in our cigar lounge at about 12:30, and enjoyed a few beers and cigars with some of his entourage. After a couple of rounds, he asked his server a fairly personal question about the server's opinion on something. When the server came back with an honest answer that was not a "suck up" answer, Burt pulled out $200 and gave it to him and thanked him for his thoughts on the matter. After they finished, They left $32 on a $63 tab (50%), as well as a Cuban Cohiba cigar for the server, which ranges very heavily in price. Mr. Reynolds made the server's night (obviously!), and I can not stress how nice he was to the entire staff! Easily the nicest celebrity I have had the privilege of having in my restaurant.

—X La Ha, Ft. Worth, TX


I am a bartender in a "family restaurant" (bear in mind, Charles Manson had a "family"), and I have served many rich, non-celebrities. My first encounter with "celebrity" was Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston.

There was a wait, so Bobby and Whitney had drinks at the bar I was tending. Bobby Brown ordered a bottle of Bud, and Whitney orders a frozen drink, which contains 3 liquers, NOT liquor. I pour Bobby his beer, then start on Whitney's lame-ass girlie drink. I add the whipped cream to Whitney's drink, place it on the bev-nap, and say, "cheers, Ma'am."

Two sips later, Whitney Houston is calling me "baby". "Baby, I can't taste the alcohol."

I smiled.

I thought, "You dumb bitch; if you want to TASTE alcohol, don't order a frozen drink."

I take the glass, dump the contents back into the blender, and free-pour a shot of Kahlua and Baileys into it. I add more shaved ice, and more whipped cream, and now the fucking wanna-be diva is happy.

The entire time I was fixing her drink, Bobby was signing order-pads for servers and bussers.

When their table was ready, Whitney stumbles off to the table. Bobby paid the check, and left a fat tip. It was almost as if he knew what a C-U-Next-Tuesday his wife was being.

Bobby came back to the bar, after lunch, and cracked jokes.

He is cool; she is not. She looked like an Ethiopian on Atkins.

—Mulambo, Miami


I don't know if you're interested, since my celebrity tip experiences haven't been in restaurants (although I have worked as a waitress for several years), but rather in the hotel industry. I was a manager at a nice hotel that received quite a few celebrities during my 3 years of employment. The two most memorable were Jerry Seinfeld and Don Henley. Jerry Seinfeld requested that a manager be waiting outside of the hotel to assist with luggage and escorting he and his manager to their rooms upon arrival at approximately midnight. He tipped me $20 for taking his bags to his room.

The worst was Don Henley. He was scheduled to perform a concert and would be staying at our hotel. He sent in one of those demand sheets- requiring a special mattress cover, special sheets, Evian water in GLASS bottles (which is no longer made), two humidifiers in his room, and much more. After spending a wild afternoon hunting down all of his requests and seeing to it that his room was perfect, he cancelled his concert and thus his reservation. He did not offer a tip for our services. Luckily, the hotel industry is much more friendly to tipped employees than the restaurant industry and my general manager charged his guarantee credit card for all of the supplies we had purchased, along with a $70 gratuity for me.

—Phoenix, Springfield, MO


This happened a few years ago - the year the Bucs won the Super Bowl - I worked at restaurant in Ybor City which is a heavy party area in South Tampa. Quite a few of the Bucs were since in the months after their win celebrating. Derrick Brooks came into my restaurant, which was a place that didn't have anything on the menu over $7. My manager bought his meal for him and thanked him for coming. Brooks scoffed, rolled his eyes, and walked out without tipping the server AT ALL! Every time I hear how much the city loves him, it kills me because I am sure that most of what he does is for good publicity, and not because he's actually a good guy.

—Anonymous, Tampa


I used to won a small tavern in the French Quarter, the club next to me was Levon Helme's great American Cafe.  For their grand opening The Band came in to play (minus Robbie Robertson).  The day before opening they all came over for lunch.  We served them poor boy's and beer.  For the most part they were alright. A couple were a little full of themselves but nothing unmanageable.

Until it came time for the check the general consensus was that the pleasure of serving "The Band" should be reward enough.  I informed them that although I did enjoy their music all the album of their's that I had purchased had put money in their coffers now I expected the same for my talents.

I was rewarded with exact change.

I still enjoy their music but was not disappointed when the club closed two month later.

—Anonymous, New Orleans


I'm a server at one of the country's largest and most successful restaurant chains. I recently had the misfortune of crossing paths with the diminutive rapper/ Hollywood wanna-be, Ludacris. I was early to my shift when Ludacris and friends showed up to the restaurant. A big oaf from his "posse" sat himself at a table in my closed station. I politely informed him the station was not yet open and he rudely commented that "the manager said we could sit here". Dreading the possibility of serving this group of six, I left the restaurant to return later for my shift. Ludacris left 10% tip on over 100$ to one of my unfortunate colleagues.

Months later, I found out that the pint sized, pseudo-thespian brought a party of over forty to another of our locations. The customary 18% included gratuity for parties of seven or more was waived by the little prince in exchange for a generous 10% tip.

It literally made me nauseous to see Ludacris hamming it up at the Academy Awards. Sitting amongst the likes of real celebrities like Matt Dillon and Terence Howard. He must have been sitting on a phonebook because every time the camera passed by, there he was, with his cornrows and glasses.

I hope to serve him one day because his overcooked, wrong order will arrive at the table when everyone else is having dessert.

—Hammer of Justice, Miami



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