I view life and tipping service people differently now......
In November of 2008, after losing my dad, we were flown out to California to a memorial service. My dad, in our eyes, was a "celebrity"....and for those in the racing field, he really was. He had an impressive 20+year career as the Director of Emergency Safety Services for the National Hot Rod Association. In his many years of this career his job was to travel state to state, dragstrip to dragstrip. I knew that he spent much of his time in the bars....but I didn't know the impact he made as he went on the road.
So after this memorial service we went to one of his favorite bars. Surrounded by the staff, his co-workers, and his employees we learned the story of the "Big Tipper". It started 20 years back. My dad would sit at the bar, and MOST alcoholics want to tell you ALL of their problems.....but my dad was not your usual "alcoholic"...instead HE wanted to know ALL about the bartender.....so he would ask about "her" life, do you have kids, how are you doing, get to know the entire story and he usually had this "gift" of finding the saddest story. So after hours of HIM listening and upon "last call" of the night "her" night would get better.....the active listener, that ran up a HUGE bar tab, would quietly pay his tab and leave $100 for the bartender. He did it in every town, every bar, everytime.
Now growing up in a single family, dealing with struggles, (yet receiving a decent child support) I knew I really should've been mad, but there was a "peace" that came over me in that moment.....my dad was doing for others that REALLY needed it. We survived, it really was ok, it always worked out, but that bartender really may not have been ok.
My dad never said one word about this to us in all of those years. His friends shared this story with such pride, like they really were part of something, someone "bigger" than life.
And in the end......it really is ok, and I'm ok too.