One person or several anonymous Christians in the U.S. are partaking in an Instagram campaign called "Tips for Jesus" in which they post photos of receipts from restaurants across the country showing the generous tip they have left for servers or bartenders, often times averaging in the $5,000 range. This campaign follows a series of media stories that have painted Christians and others as inadequate tippers.
It remains unknown who is behind the Instagram account TipsforJesus, although servers who have received the tips believe they are being left by a network of men who travel across the country to attend college football games, as often times the tips are left in sports bars in college towns on the night of a big game. The TipsforJesus Instagram page shows dozens of photos of generous tips being left on restaurant bills, with some including shots of the elated waiter, waitress or bartender holding up his lucky receipt. The receipts are labeled with the Instagram account handle "@TipsforJesus," and the description on the group's Instagram account reads: "Doing the Lord's work, one tip at a time."
The receipts on the Instagram count are estimated to be a total of $54,000 in tips left over the past few months, beginning in August. The tips range from $500 to $10,000 and span over several U.S. establishments, including San Francisco, Hollywood, Chicago, Michigan and Indiana. One photo even shows two golf caddies at the Sunset Ridge Country Club in Illinois holding $300 cash each with the caption: "Caddies are cash only."
Robbie Schulz, co-owner of the Alley Bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told MLive that he met the group of men behind TipsforJesus when they had drinks at his establishment and left a whopping $7,000 tip. The men returned the next day to take Schulz's picture and to explain their Instagram account, TipsforJesus.
"It's one group [of people]," Schulz said. "They are big college football fans, so I think you'll see some of the tips […] following different football games, but they do travel around. I think it's a group of guys that live in different parts of the country, but it's one person who fuels it."
The group of men was reportedly in Ann Arbor in September following the University of Michigan vs. Notre Dame Football game.
"One of the guys has been very successful, and they said it's his way to redistribute some wealth and it makes him happy to make people's night. I think it's as simple as that," he added.
The person or group of people also left a generous $5,000 tip at the Legends bar on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana following a football game in October.
"We were all looking at this like, is this a joke?" Ashley Rust, a former bartender at Legends, told The South Bend Tribune. "We were all super shocked and we didn't want to get too excited because we hadn't ever seen a tip like this."
The South Bend Tribune goes on to report that due to the large amount of tips being left by TipsforJesus, American Express and Notre Dame have yet to clear the tip amount left at Legends pending a fraud investigation. In response, whoever is behind the generous campaign posted a photo of their credit card statement on the Instagram account to approve the validity of their tips.
"Let's be clear, the Legends of Notre Dame tips were processed by AMEX and paid. tipsforjesus pays it's tabs. God bless! @notredame Your move," the photo caption reads.
The TipsforJesus campaign comes after a series of stories in the media of restaurant patrons being stingy tippers. In a recent story, a gay waitress in Bridgewater, New Jersey claimed she was stiffed a tip by a couple who didn't agree with her sexuality. The couple reportedly left a note that read: "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I don't agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life." The couple has since come forward to argue that they did in fact leave a tip and that they are victims of a hoax. In an earlier case, a pastor in St. Louis, Missouri named Alois Bell gained massive criticism after she neglected to tip an Applebee's waitress, instead writing a note on the receipt that read: "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?"
There have also been uplifting stories of generous tippers. In one instance, an anonymous Good Samaritan at the Tampa International Airport in August paid for a fellow traveler's baggage fee after overhearing their credit card had been declined. They then left a note that read: "Hey, I heard them say your card was declined. I know how it feels. Your bag fee's on me. Just pay it forward the next time you get a chance. Have a safe flight. :)"