The Best (and Worst) Restaurant Tippers of 2013

Instagram/Tips for JesusMost restaurant servers have good and bad tipping stories they never forget, like the quiet guy who ordered only coffee and left a really generous tip or the patron who vanished without leaving a gratuity. But this year there were plenty of tipping tales that got way wilder than those. Here's a look back at the ones that made headlines. Whether these servers were naughty or nice, they were the recipients of the most outrageous, heartwarming, and cringeworthy tips of the year.

The too-good-to-be-true: In October, a St. Louis bartender was shocked to receive a $200,000-plus payout on a bill totaling just $111.54. Using the name "Randomdayzee" on Reddit, she shared her experience of waiting on two sisters, one of whom left the exorbitant tip. The shocked server alerted her manager, who called Visa and learned that tips deemed "excessive" would not be processed. The incident caused some redditors to speculate that the tipper was a scam artist who knew that her credit card would reject such a sky-high gratuity. We'll never know!

The happy ending: After Red Lobster waitress Toni Christina Jenkins of Franklin, Tennessee, posted a photo on Facebook of a $44.53 receipt on which her customer had allegedly written a racial slur and skipped a tip, supporters launched an online fundraiser for Jenkins called "Tips for Toni." Within 72 hours, they raised $10,749 for the waitress who was presented with a check in September. The following month, a man named Devin Barnes stepped forward as the customer in question. Though he admitted to writing "None" on the tip line, he denied adding the racial slur and vowed to sue Jenkins and Red Lobster for making false accusations. We haven't heard from him since.

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Jfastman/Reddit The delivery debate: Imagine delivering 85 pizzas that cost a grand total of $1,453 and receiving a $10 tip. That's what happened to a pizza delivery man in March, whose friend posted a photo of his paltry gratuity to Reddit, which racked up nearly 2,000 comments and plenty of debate on tipping etiquette. Some felt tipping 20 percent would amount to an inappropriately expensive tip, almost $300, while others argued that a tip is based on performance and level of labor. If the delivery guy had a nickel for every Reddit comment he got … he'd be on his way to a 20 percent tip.

The lucky strike: Aurora Kephart, a 25-year-old bartender at Conway's Restaurant and Lounge in Springfield, Oregon, received the tip of her life in October when one of her regular customers left her a Keno ticket as a gratuity. When Kephart discovered the ticket had been a winning one, totaling $17,500, she tried to give it to the generous patron, but he refused her offer. Kephart eventually shared a percentage of her winnings with him, then donated a portion to a muscular dystrophy charity. "I absolutely just want to pay it forward. I don't intend to keep all that money for myself," Kephart told ABC News.

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The religious cop-out: In January, St. Louis pastor Alois Bell caused a commotion after she crossed out the automatic gratuity of 18 percent on her $34.93 bill at Applebee's and wrote the following note to her server: "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?" After waitress Chelsea Welch posted a photo of the bill on Reddit, with the note, "My mistake sir, I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries," and it went viral, Applebee's terminated Welch, despite a petition that garnered 3,000 signatures in her support.

The mystery tipper: In December, an unidentified (and extremely generous) tipper began traveling the country, leaving large gratuities for servers in Michigan and New York and stamping a signature @tipsforjesus handle on the receipt. In September, the person left $3,000 on a restaurant bill totaling just $87.88, and, a few days later, left a whopping $5,000 on a bill for $214.75. In December, the New York Post reported that a New York City waiter identified the mystery tipper as Jack Selby, a former PayPal vice president, although the tipper's identity has not been officially confirmed. Waiters everywhere are waiting to see where he or she pops up next.

The hardworking hero: A 20-year-old waiter (who did not reveal his name) at a Carrabba's Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas, said though he provided "excellent service" to a table in October, when he collected the signed credit card receipt, he discovered that the patrons had left him an antigay message in place of a tip. The note read, "Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD." Upon hearing about the incident through social media, supporters visited the restaurant where the waiter worked and asked to be seated in his section so that they could compensate for his lack of a tip. "The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I'd prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else," the server humbly told local news affiliate KMBC.

The copycat scam artist: Call her the most infamous server in America. In December, New Jersey waitress Danya Morales, 22, made headlines after claiming that she was denied a tip because she was gay. Morales posted to Facebook a photo of the $93.55 bill, which bore a note that read, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life." More than $2,000 in donations from sympathizers poured in; however, the sympathy –– and cash –– stopped flowing when an anonymous couple told a local news station that the bill belonged to them, and revealed a bank statement showing that they had left a tip. Morales lost her job and is currently refunding her donations.

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