A Kind Man Left Restaurant Staff A $3,000 Tip On A $13 Check — One Month Later, He Asked For It Back

The customer was inspired by the "Tips for Jesus" movement. But would Jesus approve of him taking the tip back?

restaurant, waitress, tip, customer New Africa, Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock 

A waitress got the shock of her life (in a good way) after a customer left her with an enormous tip that went far beyond the general 20% of the bill. However, her gratitude dissipated a month later when the customer changed his mind and asked for the tip back.

Thankfully, the restaurant was not prepared to go down without a fight.

The customer gave his waitress a $3,000 tip on a $13 check.

In June 2022, a man wandered into Alfredo’s Pizza in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The man, Eric Smith, was influenced by the social media movement “Tips for Jesus.”


The moment began in 2013 when an anonymous man began leaving tips over $1,000 for restaurant servers. He documented his good deeds on social media to inspire others to do the same.

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After being served by waitress Mariana Lambert, Smith’s meal totaled up to $13, so he decided to take a move from the Tips for Jesus playbook and leave behind a generous $3,000 tip.

Initially, managers believed that it was a mistake, but double-confirmed with Smith that he intentionally meant to leave the tip.

“It really meant a lot to me because everyone’s going through stuff,” Lambert gushed about Smith’s actions to WNEP 16 News. “It really touched my heart. I still can’t believe it. I’m still in shock.”

Unfortunately, her celebration was cut short.

A month later, Smith eventually demanded the tip back.

A short time later, the manager of Alfredo’s, Zachary Jacobson, received a letter from Smith, who claimed that he was disputing the charge for the tip that he left.


Jacobson and the rest of the staff found themselves in deep trouble, considering that Lambert had already been paid by the business for the tip and now they were out $3,000. The restaurant attempted to communicate with Smith to resolve the matter; however, he eventually stopped responding to their messages.

"We thought somebody was actually trying to do a good thing. And then now we are, what, three months later? Not even, and there's nothing. There's nothing to show for it at this point," Jacobson told WNEP 16 News. "It's just a little aggravating right now. It's been causing a lot of nonsense and drama.”

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The restaurant decided to make a dispute of their own and take Smith to court.

“Unfortunately, we had to file charges through the magistrate’s office because now we’re just out of this money at this point,” Jacobson added. “And he told us to sue him, so that’s what we’re going to end up doing, I guess.”


Man Left Server Huge Tip Demanded Back A Month Later Photo: Dejan Dundjerski / Shutterstock

The case left many people questioning the legality of whether or not a customer could take back a tip they have already given their server.

While it is rather disrespectful and unfair, especially to demand it back a month after it was given, it is also illegal according to legal experts. “The tip is legally yours to keep. Your employer can agree to give a refund to the customer, but it does not have any effect on you,” California-based lawyer Daniel Alan Near shared on Avvo.

Tipping our servers has more of an impact on our lives than we may think. In fact, many restaurant servers rely on customer tips to make a decent living, considering that their base income is not much to begin with. Tipping is also a way for customers to express their gratitude and appreciation for a restaurant's waitstaff.


Deciding to take back your token of appreciation is not only cruel but will have your poor server wondering where they went wrong despite the initial praise.

“I hope that he owns up to his actions and comes forth and does pay this because you shouldn’t have done this if this was the end result,” Jacobson added of Smith.

Acts of kindness are not supposed to be revoked in the end. Let’s be real: Smith’s decision to take back his generous tip is not one that Jesus would approve of.


RELATED: Restaurant Is Adding A Mandatory 25% ‘Service Charge’ To All Checks To Ensure Their ‘Deserving Staff Members’ Get The Pay They Deserve

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.