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The 'Tip the Bill' Challenge Is Restoring Our Faith in Humanity

Make generosity cool again.

Being a tipped employee in a restaurant generally sucks. You’re on your feet for hours, in a high-stress, fast-paced work environment where you’re likely to suffer indignities big or small, especially if you're a female server. Asshole diners get an ego boost out of playing Old Testament God with your tips, like the utter cretins who do that horrible thing with the dollar bills on the table to threaten the waitstaff into good behavior.


Tipping is on the minds of restaurants big and small across the country, from the rise of restaurants going gratuity-free to the Trump administration’s roll-back on regulations on tip-pooling. Worse yet, a recent deep-dive into the world of bad tippers by Eater reveals that lots of people still think tipping poorly—or not at all—isn’t a big deal. It’s all making it look pretty bleak to be a waitress or bartender in 2018.

And yet, the internet can still surprise us. In a rare moment of virtuosity and good-heartedness, some small corner of the interwebs came up with the #tipthebill challenge, and it’s restoring some of our faith in humanity.

In this philanthropic meme, diners who are feeling particularly generous give a tip equivalent to the total of their bill, ostensibly to the delight and surprise of their server. It’s unclear where this might have all gotten started, but, as Eater noticed, there are posts on Instagram with the #tipthebillchallenge hashtag dating back to March of this year (which is just after Trump’s Department of Labor proposed it’s loosened tip pooling regulations in January, so perhaps this whole thing was the brainchild of a forward-thinking vigilante).

Twitter and Instagram are now littered with photos of restaurant checks showing the 100-percent tips, posted by tippers and the tip-receivers alike. Sometimes, it’s a small $5 matching tip on a single-drink bar tab, but some of the receipts show diners generously doubling triple-digit checks.


It’s a heartwarming display of humanity, for sure, where diners get to give themselves a little public pat on the back for paying a little kindness forward. (Hey, everyone likes a little recognition for do-gooding, no judgment.)

The internet will always have skeptics, without fail, and some on Twitter are doubting the gregariousness or even the truth of the act. You can’t always believe what you see online, we know.

But we want to believe that people are GOOD and KIND and NOT ALWAYS JERKS. So we’re chalking this one up as a win. Also, next time you’re out, consider accepting the challenge and #tipthebill.