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Customer embraces Christmas spirit with a 7,000 percent tip

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
LISTEN: Diner customer leaves $3,000 tip on $39 check

Dwayne Clark, the CEO of Aegis Living, left a $3,000 tip on a $39 dollar bill at his regular Bellevue breakfast spot. Clark has been patronizing Brief Encounter Café for the last eight years.

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“My wife came in from shopping. She joined me about halfway through the breakfast. I got the check. I said, ‘I think we’re going to change somebody’s life today,'” Clark told KIRO Radio’s Tom and Curley on Tuesday. “I wrote the note. I handed it over to her with the tip on it. She started crying. I said, ‘Okay, let’s sprint out of here.'”

On the note Clark left with the tip, he shared a little about his own upbringing.

“I told them about how I grew up, the fact that my mom was a cook in a diner and she used to take me when I was a little boy, I was seven, and I got to be the dishwasher. I ended up standing on a Marigold milk crate because I couldn’t reach the big lever on the dishwasher tank to pull down the handle, that we were dirt poor, and that I was leaving a tip to help them with their Christmas,” Clark said.

According to Clark, he doesn’t remember being poor as a kid. It’s only when looking back on his youth that he realizes his family didn’t have much money. “I had so much love in my family and relationships that I never felt I was poor because we had such great community,” he said.

Clark left his phone number on the note in case the credit card company had trouble with the tip, and eventually the story made it to the local media.

“The outpouring of this has been so incredible, that we’ve kind of started this movement called ‘#feedthespirit,’” Clark said. “You don’t have to leave $3,000, first of all. You don’t need to leave money. But just on the back of your ticket or whatever, just write, ‘Hey I appreciate you. You’ve done a great job. Here’s my story.’ If we just did that, I think our lives would be so much richer, so much better.”

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