[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Ron Kinney picked up the signed credit card receipt from a diner at French Market last holiday season, he knew something was wrong.
The tip indicated on the receipt was for either $4,000 or $7,000 (Kinney says the writing was a bit fuzzy). But in either case, he knew that was beyond reasonable for the restaurant at 7985 Santa Monica Blvd. near Laurel, where the highest priced entree is the slow-roasted prime rib at $22.95.
“Usually when somebody makes a mistake, you can figure what their intention is,” said Kinney, who has worked as a waiter at French Market for 22 years. “But that was so off base, I just made it zero.”
Flash forward to three weeks ago, when the West Hollywood resident was reading a story on AOL.com about a mysterious big tipper. That’s when he realized that the logo stamped on the receipt with a $5,000 tip featured in the AOL story was the same as the one on the receipt whose tip he had zeroed out.
“Tips for Jesus” is the slogan stamped by the wealthy and anonymous San Francisco resident on the receipts he leaves behind. In a recent interview with San Francisco magazine, which didn’t identify him by name, he said that despite the slogan, “the movement we have started is intended to be agnostic.”
The “Tips for Jesus” tipster has left gratuities of around $130,000 in restaurants across the country and in Mexico over the past six months. They include a tip of $4,000 left on Jan. 5 for Brian Kennedy, a bartender at Pearl’s Liquor Bar at 8909 Sunset Blvd. near North Clark. On Jan. 4, a $5,000 “Tips for Jesus” gratuity was left for Leigh Dollard, 27, at Acabar in Los Angeles.
Rumor has it that the tipster is former PayPal executive Jack Shelby. Another rumor is that there are several generous tipsters spreading the wealth, all under the “Tips for Jesus” moniker. The tipster interviewed by San Francisco magazine said “It’s just about helping people out. It’s not hard to give back … When justified by great service, magnanimous gratuities are achievable by everyone—no excuses.”
Whoever the tipper is, Ron Kinney wishes he would get in touch. “Since we don’t have a retirement plan at work, this would be a big help in easing into retirement,” said Kinney, who is 67. Meanwhile, he is grateful for the support he’s gotten from his co-workers, who offered to try to help find the “Tips for Jesus” receipt. Kinney noted, however, that once the payment has been processed, there’s nothing much that can be done.