Siblings Used An Amazon Gift Card To Tip Their Server & TikTok Is Divided Over It

The holiday season can really put a dent in your wallet, and there’s a chance that sometimes, you might be out of cash but flush with gift cards.

That’s precisely what happened to a sibling trio on TikTok during a recent trip to a Korean BBQ spot in California.

Kaitlyn and Gustavo Lombera, along with their older sister, decided to grab some food together but found themselves in a pickle when they had no spare change left to pay their tip.

The siblings posted about the awkward moment on TikTok, in a video that shows them leaving a $25 Amazon gift card on top of their almost $100 bill.


holidays left us #broke 😮‍💨😮‍💨

The caption read: “holidays left us #broke.”

To be fair, they asked the waitress first if she’d accept her tip in gift card format, the siblings told BuzzFeed. The server was totally OK with it and even thought it was funny, they said.

However, other TikTok users were torn over how they felt about paying with a gift card. Many who identified as service industry workers said they’d love to get a gift card as a tip, while others thought it was a cheap move.

One commenter said: “I’m a bartender. I WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT AS A TIP!!! 😁😁😁”

Another agreed and even pointed out that the $25 gift card was probably more than she would get in tips anyways.

“Also that $25 gift card is not taxable. You get that money all for you,” said another person in the comments.

However, not everyone agreed with the move.

One person said: “I didn’t think it was bad till I saw the bill. ‘We didn’t have money for a tip,’ you should’ve put some food down then.”

Other people also brought up the hefty bill and questioned why they were unable to pay the tip.

“Really?! The receipt says it cost $95, and he couldn’t afford to tip her $10 like wow.”

Many people came to their siblings’ defence and pointed out that tips are up to the guest, so a gift card should be more than acceptable.

“It blows my mind that people get angry at customers for not tipping them, rather than be mad at companies for not paying a livable wage,” one person wrote.

Another person joked that the card might be nearly empty. “Gift card has $0.37 in it,” they wrote.

One user who claimed to be the restaurant owner’s son even joined in on the fun.

“LMAO that’s my dad’s restaurant!” he wrote. “Hope you guys enjoyed.”

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NJ Community Raises $2,000 for Server After Group Leaves No Tip, Angry Note Over Time Limit

As anyone who has gone to eat at a restaurant anytime since last summer knows, there are strict rules the establishments operate under. One such common rule is implementing a time limit for customers, which roughly puts a cap on how long customers can be seated at the table for.

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© Provided by NBC New York

In New Jersey, one restaurant-goer was not too happy to be given such a limit, and expressed disapproval on the bill — which went viral, and has led to an outpouring of support for the restaurant staff.

Along with utilizing a QR code for the menu, the Glenbrook Brewery in Morristown states at each table that seating is limited to 90 minutes due to COVID capacity restrictions. Last Friday evening, a group of four sat down and at least one of them didn’t seem to appreciate being given such a limitation.

So the customers ate their food and paid their $86 bill, but not a cent more, neglecting to leave any sort of monetary tip. What was left, however, was an angry tip for the staff in the form of a note, reading in part, “Don’t kick paying customers out after 90 minutes.”

The staff was surprised to get such a reaction from customers regarding a fairly commonplace rule adopted across the service industry that is a direct result of COVID and capacity limits.

“It’s not like we’re trying to keep people from staying here, it’s just something that needs to happen in 50 percent capacity for a business to survive,” said Beth, who served the table.

The upsetting note — and perhaps more upsetting lack of appreciation for the service workers — was met with support from the Morristown community, however. After a fellow serve at another neighboring establishment posted a snapshot of the receipt, donations started pouring in. The restaurant had receive nearly $2,000 in support.

“The public support and outpouring, the kind comments, just the things people say bring me to tears,” said Beth. She is working server jobs while studying for her doctorate in nursing practice.

While the donations have come in to make up for her dismal treatment by the customers, she said that the money won’t just be going to her.

“The plan is to split with the other servers and donate the rest to the community,” she said.

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Nashville server gets big tip from YouTuber traveling the country

In total, Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley gave Carrie Taylor $3,500.

NASHVILLE, Tenn — Carrie Taylor went into work early on Saturday at Rosepepper Cantina, not knowing the VIP table her boss wanted her to serve would be surprising her. 

“They were kind of prodding for information a little bit, but I tend to overshare anyway so I was just visiting and talking about my kids and talking about how long I’ve been there,” said Taylor.  

The mom of four says she’s been a server at Rosepepper for 17 years and even though it’s a job she loves, like many others in the restaurant industry, the pandemic has hit hard. 

“I think, like, we are really a successful restaurant but I think, like any small business, it’s just one foot in front of the other. Like how are we going to keep this momentum going?” she said.

She also has been trying to keep the momentum going at home with her kids and bills stacking up. 

Saturday, as Taylor approached the VIP table she was requested to serve to drop off the bill, there were two piñatas hanging. The four guests told her, “we’re going to play a game and you’re going to pick a piñata and your tip is in one of these.” 

She went on to say, “they blindfolded me. I picked a piñata and beat it to death, which was hilarious, and when it fell down it was just full of cash. And I didn’t know what to say. I was like is this a joke?” 

In total, they gave her $3,500. Not only did she get the piñata she broke but they told her to bring the other one home for her kids to break open.  

“It was a lot, it was a lot to take in. I was sobbing on this man’s shoulder. Just like ugly girl crying on his shoulder.” 

Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley is the man Carrie Taylor cried on. He’s a YouTuber who travels the country on what he calls a “Dream Machine Tour,” giving to deserving people.   

Taylor had never heard of him but she looked him up after she got home from her shift. She said, “There was all these amazing things that he did. Like, he was buying minivans for people that didn’t have a way to get their kids to and from. They were paying people’s rent for a couple of months so they could catch up. All these things, like all these amazing things.” 

For Taylor, this money meant paying bills and providing some kind of Christmas for her kids. A Christmas Taylor said would have been small, “And it still will be, not because the gift wasn’t amazing. Because it’s amazing. But I’m trying to distribute it where it’s going to benefit the family most. So, I want them to have a good Christmas but long term I would rather them have electricity you know? And gas in the car.” 

Charlie “Rocket” recorded Taylor’s reaction to the gift but hasn’t posted that video yet on his YouTube. He has, however, made a post on Instagram about it and Taylor wanted to make one point about some of the comments its received.  

She said, “people were saying a lot of things like it doesn’t count if you put it on the internet, like it doesn’t count if you tell people. And it was all I could do to not comment because it does count. It does count. Like to every single person that he’s helped, it still counts. Him posting on it and letting people know that there are good things out there, didn’t negate what he did for my family or for all these other people that he helped. And I don’t think that they realized if you have a charity organization like that, it’s helpful to build the supporters if people know you’re doing it.” 

Her message to others, to always remember there’s a lot more under what you see in people and to always be kind. 

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Customer wants tip to be acknowledged by server | Advice

DEAR ABBY: I was wondering if you could give me some advice on tipping. I frequent coffee shops in my area as well as when I travel. The baristas usually are younger women. Usually, there will be a tip jar located next to the cash register.

A typical latte costs $4 to $5, and I leave a dollar in the tip jar. I realize that many servers may be distracted if they’re waiting on other customers, but is it normal for them to never acknowledge someone who is giving them a tip? Is the tip just expected?

Again, I realize there could be distractions, and maybe the baristas don’t notice me tipping them, but it seems like the rule rather than the exception. I think it comes across as lousy customer service. How hard is it to say “thank you”? Is this another example of a generation of poorly raised people?

— Sipping & tipping in Connecticut

DEAR S & T: It’s not only good manners but also good business to thank clients/patrons — just as it’s considered proper etiquette to thank the person who served you. I hesitate to paint an entire generation with the same brush, but the individuals you are dealing with could benefit from a refresher course in courtesy.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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An Owner and A Server Speak On How You Can Help Save Local Restaurants

Eat and Drink

Josh Wolkon and Alexis Stovich share what they wish Denver diners knew about staying safe—and in business—during the pandemic.


Editor’s note: Josh Wolkon, founder and owner of Secret Sauce Food & Beverage, has been a restaurant operator in Denver for more than 20 years; his restaurants include Steuben’s, Ace Eat Serve, and, until its closing this past summer, Vesta. Wolkon recently decided to reopen Steuben’s Arvada for take-out and delivery in order to keep 20 employees working whom he would have had to furlough otherwise. Here is where he and longtime server Alexis Stovich, a Secret Sauce employee since 2012, stand right now and what they want Denver diners to know, based on their experiences in the restaurant business this year.

What I Wish Denverites Knew… —Josh Wolkon

Denver residents have shown an amazing amount of support for local restaurants over the past nine months, as we pivoted our way through the COVID-19 crisis. I’m regularly asked, “How can we help?” Thank you for asking that question, and for doing what you can to support local restaurants and bars, which are the fabric of our community.

The restaurant business has never been easy; industry pros generally thrive when challenged, but a global pandemic has no playbook and the rules have been changing daily. Restaurants and bars have the daunting task of keeping their guests safe, smiling, and fed—and our teams equally safe and employed. Do you want to know how you can help? Really help? Here’s how:

Dine out(doors) during off hours. For example, visit your favorite patio or pick up lunch at 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., and grab dinner to go at 4 p.m. With a mandatory 8 p.m. last call, we have fewer hours during which to serve you so it helps our staff immensely when we can spread out our busy times.

Dress warmly. If you’re eating outside, it’s winter—and it’s going to be chilly. Bundle up. Bring your own blanket, wear a warm hat, and settle in for a dining adventure. Embrace this unusual winter of outdoor dining, please! The other night at Ace [Eat Serve], it warmed my heart to see a family with young children, bundled up and happily huddled around a fire pit eating steaming bowls of ramen. I’m sure the kids will never forget that unique experience.

Founder and owner Josh Wolkon at Ace Eat Serve. Photo courtesy of Ace Eat Serve

Order take out directly from the restaurant’s website or over the phone. We know the third-party delivery services are convenient, but they really do hurt our business. By ordering directly from the restaurant, you’ll save money by not paying delivery and packaging fees and you’re letting the restaurant keep the 15 percent commission they typically have to pay to the delivery services. Once a delivery leaves the restaurant, we have no control over how long it takes to get to you or in what shape it’s in when it arrives. You’re simply more likely to receive hot food, the way it was intended to be served, when getting delivery direct.

Order wisely. French fries or “crispy” Brussels sprouts might not be so crispy by the time you get them home. Order items you are confident will travel or reheat well. Also, your favorite menu item might not be available for take-out if the restaurant is attempting to prevent complaint calls.

Order late night takeout. Anything ordered after 9:00 p.m. is a huge help, as in-house dining has slowed without the ability to serve or purchase alcohol past 8:00 p.m.

Order additional takeout meals for tomorrow or frozen meals to stock your freezer or give to neighbors. At Steuben’s, we started selling frozen pot pies to-go and at Ace we’re selling frozen curries. Think about throwing on a salad or soup for tomorrow’s lunch. If you’ve saved any money this year in the absence of regular dining out, travel, and entertainment, please consider doubling down on your next restaurant meal.

Add cocktails to go, the way you might have ordered drinks when you were dining inside. And please keep in mind that to-go cocktails are often not iced, so the volume perception might be misleading; we are 100 percent using the same recipes that we use in-house.

Respect reservation time limits. Most local restaurants have instituted dining time limits—usually around 90 minutes—in order to maximize already limited seating. Please help us out by showing up on time, ordering quickly, and freeing up the table once you’re done.

Buy gift cards to use in the spring or summer and consider buying retail items, too. Shirts, hats, glasses, etc. make great gifts any time of year!

Stay in touch with your favorite restaurants by joining e-mail lists, checking out their websites, or following them on social channels. They’re probably doing some very cool, creative, innovative, and delicious things that you’ll learn about through their guest communication channels.

Be kind on Yelp and other online review platforms…or better yet, just hold off reviewing at all during these unusual times. Nothing we’re doing is normal right now. As always, the most appreciated feedback is the feedback we receive in person, on the spot, or via a direct phone call or e-mail through our website.

Book 2021 events now. Consider putting down deposits for summer and early fall 2021 parties and events, which will help restaurants’ cash flow over the tough winter months ahead.

Leave big tips, if you can. Your generosity goes a very long way.


What I Wish Denverites Knew… —Alexis Stovich

Wear your mask [when you’re dining or picking up at a restaurant] more than you think you need to. It’s very hard on us to act as the mask police and we really don’t want to ask you to wear your mask when you’re headed to the bathroom or leaving your table.

Longtime Steuben’s server Alexis Stovich. Photo courtesy of Steuben’s

We wish we could do more for you. We’ve been trained to be ultra-guest oriented. We’re there to fill your water glass, change your utensils, turn the table quickly for quality coursing, and so on. But all of that needs to be consolidated now. Less interaction is safer for everybody, but it does change the dining experience. Understand that we want to keep our distance to ensure your safety, while also trying to be sure you have everything you need.

It can be scary for us to do our jobs right now. Like you, servers have families at home, children in remote learning, and bills to pay. Our schedules have been reduced, followed by our income. We are reliant on the protection our masks provide, constant hand washing, and sanitation. It can be scary and mentally challenging to be a server right now. We’re doing our best to provide the service you are accustomed to but please take a moment to recognize the challenges we face.

We feel such gratitude. Since the pandemic began, I have been brought to tears by some of the most generous tipping I’ve ever seen. I have gratitude for our community, and our team of fighters. Thank you for considering a slightly larger tip than you might normally; that extra $3 you add on makes a huge difference to us.

We’re all going to be OK. Despite feeling like we’ve all been walking on a tightrope for the past nine months, there have been countless silver linings, moments of gratitude, shining examples of creativity and grit, improved business practices, updated technology, and rewards. Business survival aside, our true joy comes from serving others and bringing smiles to our guests’ faces. While we can’t see your reactions at home, the immediate gratification of a happy guest on our patio still lives on. As a team and work family, we long for the day to see each other’s smiles, communicate more easily, and feel the warmth and positive vibes of a packed restaurant.

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Hendersonville restaurant server discovers $1,000 tip during shift, calls it a ‘blessing’ – WLOS

Hendersonville restaurant server discovers $1,000 tip during shift, calls it a ‘blessing’  WLOS

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Server Gets $2,020 Tip At Maryland Restaurant Days Before COVID Restrictions Pause Regular Dining

The Week

Veterans groups say they weren’t consulted about Biden’s VA pick until after he was announced

President-elect Joe Biden’s leakproof Cabinet selection process may have done more harm than good.Biden has spent the past few weeks filling out his White House staff, keeping a tight lid on the process and putting out surprising nominees for many top Cabinet spots. In fact, the process was so secretive that advocacy groups who expected to be consulted were left feeling “blindsided” when the picks eventually came out, they tell Politico.Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, was among the most controversial picks. A longtime aide to former President Barack Obama, McDonough is not a veteran and doesn’t have much experience in veterans affairs. And it was only after McDonough’s selection leaked that Biden transition officials began asking advocates and lawmakers to support him, three people told Politico. “I don’t know any leading activist who got to weigh in on this pick. I’m getting calls now asking me to support it, but I didn’t get those before,” Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Politico. Similar backlash has surrounded the selection of former USDA head Tom Vilsack to return to the department, and the nomination of retired Gen. Lloyd Austin over former Pentagon official Michèle Flournoy.Pete Giangreco, a longtime Democratic strategist who advised Obama, contended that the closely guarded selection process is a positive. “To me, the fact that people didn’t get a heads-up is a good sign that this is an all-business, no-drama administration like Obama’s,” he told Politico. “People in three months won’t remember” this Cabinet skirmish, Giangreco continued, though a Republican Senate reluctant to even acknowledge Biden’s win may drag out the nomination process far longer.More stories from Joe Biden still doesn’t get it Fauci: Americans without underlying conditions could get COVID-19 vaccine by late March, early April Donald Trump’s defeat is good. Why does it feel so bad?

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