patrons happily eating at a restaurant
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 16, 2024 ·  3 min read

Large Group Of Teens Tips Waiter Only $3.28. A Few Days Later This Note Is Handed To Him

A waiter in Los Angeles was working his shift when a group of four teenagers entered the restaurant. They were heading to their homecoming dance and were dining in a higher-end restaurant for the first time by themselves. The waiter took it upon himself to give them a good experience. However, at the end of the meal, the teens left him with a measly tip of $3.28.

Nothing more frustrating than when I get little to nothing for a tip and the customer is smiling and thanking me profusely as they exit,” he said. 

Despite his frustration, the waiter decided to move on and forget about that night. But ten days later, he received a letter from the kids. The letter was full of praise for his service, plus an apology and a proper tip.

Sorry on behalf of my group”

Despite this incident occurring in 2018, the letter was a testament to the teenagers’ mindfulness and growth. Not to mention the importance of giving waiters a proper tip! Here’s what the letter said:

“About a week and a half ago, on October 7, my 3 friends and I came to eat at this restaurant as our own homecoming celebration. It was an exciting experience for us to be here alone, and it was all new to us. And you were the best waiter we could ask for. You were kind, helpful, accommodating, didn’t treat us like babies, and were even able to fit the food to all my allergies! So I wanted to say thank you for making out ‘grown up’ experience so amazing and fun.

I would also like to say sorry on behalf of my group. Since we were new to all of this, our 14-year-old minds didn’t exactly know how to deal with the bill. You were super helpful in dividing the check up and taking our not-so-preferable cash. The bill was reasonable, but we had completely forgotten (and frankly didn’t know) what a tip even was, let alone how much to give.

So we emptied our pockets and all our money added up to $3.28. Not aware of how small this really was, we left, clueless of what we had left you for all your hard work. Later, we realized our mistake and felt HORRIBLE. We knew we had to make it right. 

So in this envelope, you will find the correct 18% tip + extra for simply being amazing. We appreciate your help and patience, and thank you for making our night fun. Thank you! – The 4 teenagers from that night.” [1]

Read: Salt Bae’s Overpriced Restaurant – How Smart People Make Money Off Dumb People

Dear Mr. Waiter

Teenagers' letter for their waiter, apologizing for their bad tip
Photo credits: Imgur

I’ve been serving a long time,” the waiter said when he posted photos of the letter on Imgur. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me, or anyone [I know]. I don’t know how you learned or educated yourself on tipping, but I really appreciate the effort and kindness. I hope your homecoming was fantastic. [2]

Teenagers' letter for their waiter, apologizing for their bad tip
Photo credits: Imgur

How to Tip

Expectations of tipping at restaurants often depend on culture and its service industry. In the United States, tipping is considered common practice. While it’s not legally required, it’s considered bad etiquette or unethical to leave a bad tip or no tip at all. This is because restaurants are legally allowed to pay their employees below minimum wage, allowing tips to make up for the rest of their payment. Therefore, tips can consist of over 60 percent of the employees’ overall earnings. Keep in mind, that it’s common for servers to share their tips with other staff members like the cooks and bussers who don’t receive tips from the customers.

Overall, the tip should depend on the quality of service, with 15% appropriate for average service and 20% for above-average performances. If a person receives poor service, it’s better to speak with a manager than leave no tip. Remember, tips often go to more people than just your server. [3]

Keep Reading: A Man Once Sued the Cheesecake Factory For Being Way Off With Their Math


  1. Waiter Gets Frustrated When Customers Tip Him Only $3.28, Doesn’t Expect This Surprise The Next Day.Bored Panda. Rokas Laurinavičius. 2018
  2. “This waiter was left a $3.28 tip by teenagers – but a week later he got a huge surprise.” Indy 100. Narjas Zatat. January 23, 2018
  3. “Guide to Tipping at Restaurants.” Table Agent