The $111.05 New York restaurant receipt includes a $1,000 tip and the words “god bless!” scrawled across it. The Twitter handle @tipsforjesus is stamped next to an illegible signature.
Similar tabs have popped up in restaurants from coast to coast and even in Mexico, with tips of as much as $10,000 — all charged to American Express.
Last week, the mysterious man surfaced again — this time in Fairfield, Connecticut. He left a $5,000 gratuity on a $112 bill at the Seagrape, an eatery where college kids drop by for cheap beers by the beach.
The mystery has been resolved. The New York Post has reported that Jack Selby, the former PayPal vice president — who made millions on PayPal’s sale to eBay — is the man behind the big tips.
According to the Post, Bo’s manager, Benjamin Cramer, asked Selby why he tipped so much. “He said, ‘Just because’.”
An Instagram account bearing the @tipsforjesus name shows photos of the generous gratuities. Its tagline: “Doing the Lord’s work, one tip at a time.” The account has 54,000 followers. On Twitter, Tips for Jesus has nearly 3,000 followers but no tweets.
Three Manhattan restaurants were especially blessed the first weekend of December. A waiter in the restaurant of the NoMad Hotel got a $7,000 tip, another at The Smith restaurant was left $3,500, and $1,000 went to Aruj Dhawan, a 25-year-old fashion marketing student from India working at Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room.
Dhawan served three guests who walked in one recent Saturday evening. Their order — a bourbon, a beer, an appetiser, a pork ragout and a pork chop — amounted to $111.05, plus $1,000 for the waiter.
“Aruj approached me, and said, ‘Is this for real?’” said general manager Benjamin Cramer. Dhawan’s co-workers were equally thankful: the Chelsea pools its tips at the end of the night. Before leaving, the tipster had snapped a photo of the waiter and posted it on Instagram.
In another photo, a Phoenix bartender beamed looking at his $2,500 tip.
A tab dated December 5, 2013, from a resort in Punta Mita, Mexico, was posted on Instagram with the comment, “Muchas gracias Carlos!” — meaning “many thanks” to Carlos Mendez, a grinning young waiter holding a bill for $158.11 with a tip of $1,000.
Across the land, restaurant servers were posting pleas on Instagram asking the mysterious tipster to visit them.
He’s not the only one with a knack for generosity at the table though.