Daily Buzz

Waiter Greg Rubar receives $5,000 ‘tip’ on $27 lunch

The Houston waiter received the tip from regulars after losing his car

When dining at a restaurant, people usually tip between 10 and 15 per cent. If the service is really good, people may tip 20 per cent, but even that is a far cry from the amount one couple recently left in a Houston establishment.

They left their regular waiter an envelope with $5,000 for a $27 lunch. While it seems like a tip, it is actually considered a gift because it's not attached to a bill.

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"I told them thank you when they gave it to me, I knew it was money, but I didn't know how much," said waiter Greg Rubar, who has worked at D'Amico's Italian Market for 16 years, in the KHOU11 video. "Maybe a half hour after they left I went in the bathroom, I opened it, I looked at it and I could tell it was $5,000 because it was still wrapped."

And the money couldn't have come at a better time. Rubar lost his car in a severe storm several weeks ago and has been taking cabs and buses to work ever since. His car was flooded in standing water off a freeway exit after a thunderstorm.

The regulars, who wish to remain anonymous, knew about the car and, according to 29-95, told Rubar to take the money and buy a car.

"Nobody ever gives me anything," Rubar said to 29-95. "They just wanted to help me out. They're nice people."

While these generous people wanted to leave a  bigger tip, more and more restaurants in Canada are tacking on an automatic 20 per cent tip to force patrons to pay up. Tipping 20 per cent may be common in major U.S. cities such as New York, but the minimum wage of Big Apple waiters is just over half of what it is in Toronto at $8.90.

Raising wages and reducing tip levels as is common in Australia would hike menu prices and remove some of the incentive to provide excellent service.

As for the generous patrons, Rubar told Click2Houston.com they plan to continue eating there, but Rubar shouldn't expect a tip for a while.