Two Guys Left $200 Tips And Turned From Pranksters Into Angels

A group that films pranks for a YouTube channel gave restaurant servers more than they expected with $200 tips, and got more than they could have bargained for.

Guys Tipping Servers $200 Receive Awesome Reactions

Most restaurant servers generally expect to receive the standard 15 to 18 percent tip. But what would happen if they received a really big tip, like $200, on a $30 tab? That's what Andrew Hales, who owns the YouTube channel LAHWF (Losing All Hope Was Freedom) -- set out to find out.

Hales -- whose videos are typically part prank, part social experiment -- got some big reactions when the servers at a few Orem, Utah diners received the great gratuities. But he and his crew also got responses they never could have expected.

More than once the crew made a big difference in someone's life that they couldn't have anticipated. After they laughed watching one ecstatic waitress jump up and down, the young woman ran out to give him a hug. "That's so awesome!" said a waiter. "You don't even know how badly I needed the money. You're really a god-send." The waiter mentioned that servers in Utah generally get only $2.13 an hour in salary. In another restaurant, other workers said of the waitress who received the $200: "She really needed it. She got hit by a car, like, three weeks ago" while on her bike. Co-workers had chipped in to buy her a new bicycle.

Many people working in the service industry rely heavily on the tips they receive, from a trifling median of 20 cents per hour for a swimming pool and spa technician to the median 63 percent of income that tips mean to a waiter or waitress. The latter goes along with a median hourly base pay of $4.20.

So wait staff can react strongly to exceptionally good or bad tips. There was the waitress who claimed to have received a $200,000 tip. (The credit card company wouldn't process the payment, though the waitress said that she was still grateful for the sentiment.) Recently, a waitress in a Red Lobster said that she received a racial epithet instead of a tip.

There are waiters and waitresses who have been fired for complaining about bad tippers. Some people like New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells argue that the practice is irrational, outdated, and ineffective.

Tipping after the fact doesn't necessarily help ensure good service. But for now, waiters and waitresses depend on tips that often make the difference between squeezing by and falling to the wayside.

The video is a good reminder that many people live on a perilous edge in this world. Maybe it's a stranger next to you. Maybe it's a friend or family member too proud to mention their problems. There are times we all need help.

As Facebook user Luke Larson said on the Facebook LAHWF page, "The pranks are funny, but every once in a while you have to make a video to show your inner self when your <sic> not being a comedian."

Hales' outrageous videos are a form of performance art that have turned into a living, as the blog Makers Limited reports. He and his associates put people into unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable situations, like spoiling movie endings for people entering a theatre or asking strangers to kiss them. Some may seem to be bro-produced videos, but there's thought behind them.

In this case, though, Hales wasn't getting embarrassment or uncomfortable giggles. In a blog post about the video, Hale talked about his new attitude toward work and life:

True happiness lies in continually working at something meaningful to you with the people you love.

There, I just thought of that.

Sounds like he got even more out of doing that video than the servers did.

Related Recent Posts By Erik Sherman

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Servers in Germany get a good pay, they also get pd.vacation and sick leave,have health ins.that is payed50% by the employer but covers also Dentist and eye care,but the Restau.owner still make lots of money,I wonder how they can do it but here they can not.

May 13 2014 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John O'Neill

@Susanne: They do make the legal minimum wage. In the infinite wisdom of congress who is not at all beholden to constituents but rather to the corporate lobbyists who represent the restaurant industry. Thus, congress decades ago allowed there to be "exemptions" to minimum wage for many classes of workers. Bet ya didn't know that did ya? Well one of them was food servers and because they make "tips" the employers are allowed to pay less than minimum wage. The theory being that the workers will make at least minimum wage after they count their tips AND hourly wage. So to give you an example of how pathetic this law is I will pull from personal experience. My then girlfriend (now ex wife) worked at Applebee’s in Las Vegas in 1996. The federal minimum wage for food servers at the time was a paltry $2.13 per hour. However, in Las Vegas food servers are unionized at many of the larger hotels and the big national chains like Applebee's and similar restaurants do not even try to pay food servers that ridiculous amount. They instead pay the normal minimum wage which is something like $5.25 per hour in 1996, more than double. So, when she included her tips, she actually made ok money but still much less than a livable wage. After a time we decided to relocate to Daytona Beach Florida. Of course my girlfriend went t Applebee’s in Florida and got a job....we were both amazed that they only paid her $2.13 per hour! And it was legal! So for a six hour shift, this huge corporation, Applebee's, was able to retain the services of a human being for the amazingly low sum of $12.78. Think about that. Let’s say you have to add in workers’ comp, Medicaid, social security, and liability insurance to cover your worker. Let’s say DOUBLE it. $25 a day gets you a for a restaurant that employs 8 servers per shift and there are two shift per day it costs them about $400 per day for server labor....and they take in total sales as much as $15,000...PER DAY. It was my girlfriends observations that Applebee's in Florida was just as busy if not busier than the ones she worked at in Las Vegas and the tips were lousy. Being the preferred choice as a place to retire, the blue hair 's would tip often times much less than 10% and many times not at all. Applebee's I am sure counts it's restaurants in places other than Las Vegas as their most profitable I am sure and the low cost of labor is one reason I am sure. In fact the food was no less expensive, thus not passed to the consumer, and the standards expected of the employee's was actually much higher due to the lack of nearby unionization ( I suspect, opinion). Applebee's and other major chains of course have a strong presence in Las Vegas and the fact that the market encourages them to pay more does not deter them from placing units there.

September 25 2013 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How is it possible that restaurant servers could make such a rediculously low salary? What happened to minimum wage? I agree with you sarajane, I don't think the owners are strugging.

September 19 2013 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

how about restaurant owners paying their employees a living decent wage - where does the money go that the owners make? - not many of them are poor.

September 18 2013 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

yesterday at the store the lady in front of me did not have enough money and removed juice salad and chicken from her tab. after she cashed out i had the clerk scan those item on my tab and give them to may have cost me 8 bucks but to her it was like a million.

September 18 2013 at 7:59 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to wombat1380's comment
John the F'ing Bapti

The "humor" in this so-called prank is condescending and patronizing. Andrew Hales should be required to attend sensitivity training.

September 18 2013 at 6:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John the F'ing Bapti's comment

Hah....there's always one and today it's you. It's a sad group you belong to..

September 19 2013 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been known to tip over the amount. I once left a 20 under my cup for a 7.99 burger at Chilis and once tipped a lady carrying out my groceries a 20 at the holidays. Other times, I give a 5. Why not? They have to feed their people and make bills too!

September 18 2013 at 6:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Restaurant owners have held to the idea that their servers can earn tips with outstanding service. Do away with tips, and restaurants have to pay more by jacking up your bill by MORE than $5 per person. Higher in classier places. And your quality of service may drop. One very light business day, I had three customers. And earned $100 in tips. Nobody gives better service. I work for my tips and my customers are willing to pay for that service. What if they don't tip? I still provide the service. Tipping is not a law. I never lower my standards. Have nice day!

September 18 2013 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Lin's comment

You can tell a good place by the people who work there.. seriously. YOu walk in and they are either grumps or friendly.

September 18 2013 at 6:20 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
John O'Neill

Which planet do you live on? Oh yea, the planet where there is another in your home making a wage as well? Or the planet where your living standards are LOW? Or the planet where you assume everybody can make $33 per customer on average per day....not the planet where Applebee’s patrons live I am sure.
Capitalism was never designed to be a form of welfare but neither was it designed to be a form of economy that encourages the use, abuse, and misuse of workers while the corporations step on their backs on their way to higher earnings at the expense of those who make the PRODUCTION possible. NOT EVERYBODY IS AS DYNAMIC AND ACCOMPLISHED as you...If capitalism cannot afford to pay a living wage then it too is as a big a failure as communism. Anyway, Capitalism is nothing more than Corporate Communism. A form of oppression disguised as "freedom" which you apparently have bought hook, line, and sinker. There needs to be a balance and to tip the scale towards Corporate Communism is nothing more than a newer, more insidious form of Communism. In my not so humble opinion. The sheep of the world, who watch television, buy iTunes, and soak up pop culture will eventually wake up in "1984" and ask...what happened? An overstatement on my part? I don't think so.

September 25 2013 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sounder

Why do restaurants not have to pay minimal. Why would anyone work for $2.00 and hour. Why should the customer have to pay for the person that owns the place help?

September 18 2013 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Bob Sounder's comment

Most servers in good restaurants can earn up to 100.00 in tips for an 8 hour shift. add the 18.78 cents to that and they are making on average 118.78 per day. Most of those servers have ahigh school education ,if that at best . So with that said ,much better than a 7.25 per hour job at mithe serverckey ds huh? The servers are suppose to claim their tips each day ,to add up to at least minimum wage, so 50.00 per day is never reported ,it goes straight too the pocket, tax free. see how it works sparky?

September 18 2013 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MIKE HALL's comment

The IRS taxes them on 15% what the bills are so the people who leave a bigger tip make up for the ones who do not leave a decent tip.I for one would not like to work as a server,it looks like a very hard job to me,and I do not mind hard work.

May 13 2014 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

You will pay the difference regardless if the owner pays min.wage your bill will go up,as to why they work for $2.00 a they do not have to go on wellfare.Think about that next time you tip.

May 13 2014 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is just a copy cat tip. This is getting old.

September 18 2013 at 4:03 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

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