I was very touched when I learned that my friend’s husband,Tim,a habitual morning jogger,always brings cash out with him on his runs. Not to stop for a latte at Starbuck or pick up mineral water at 7-11, but rather for alms for the homeless who live with their belonging in plastic bags.
He would press anything from $20 to $50 into their hands and then run off to leave the recipient in shock without expecting any appreciation.
This, to me, is truly giving with absolutely no motive. I had a chance to speak Tim again and I learned something else. He gives to make the person feel he is appreciated and to make his day. This was an extension to tipping generously to waiters and other people who in their own small way make his life better.
He particularly does this for the older attendants at petrol stations. Tim believes that these people are under-appreciated everyday. They have less glamorous jobs that many do not want and probably need the money for survival.
So, over the years, I always think of Tim when I tip. In the beginning, I was leery of giving a tip larger than a certain amount for a meal. But I always remind myself that the additional tip can make so much of a difference to a waitress who probably does not earn much and hope that with the extra money he can buy his girlfriend a nice meal that evening or add to his savings for a new Ipod. However, I think the receiver of the tip is not happy for the tip in itself, but rather the gesture that it represents.
My daughter was surprised when I gave a towel lady in a restaurant bathroom a big tip when we were sure we were never ever going to see her again. She understood why I did that when I explained it to her on our way back to our seats and when she glanced back to see the towel lady beaming and waving at us in gratitude.
The only downside to this is when I DO see the person again I’ll receive more attention that I really want.
I do not feel smug gratification when I tip generously these days. Only a sense of contentment that I had the opportunity to make someone feel appreciated and happy, even if just for a day.