Bob Bastedo was nice enough to send some celebrity tip stories via Pete Bergen. I’ll quote his comments exactly as received:
Waiting tables at Tony&Joe’s I served Bob Hope. He was an asshole and left a shitty tip.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé would frequent a place I worked here in New York. They would start at the bar, move to a table when their party arrived, transfer their tab and Jay-Z would palm me a $100.
Courtney Love stiffed me but flashed me her tits.
Raquel Welch gave me $100 on a $50 tab plus a hug and a kiss. I was useless after that.
Tiki Barber, 10%, and a regular.
Shaquille O’Neal was a regular at Uncle Jack’s. Never sat at the bar but always made it a point to come by and shake hands and say hello .Shaking hands with Shaq is like holding hands with my dad when I was 3. He never knew my name but always called me “big Man”, which is ironic.
Howard Stern, very quiet, very polite and a generous tipper.
Yoko Ono. Wanted desperately to dislike her, but I couldn’t. Sweet as can be. VERY generous and a hug.
Leonardo Di Caprio. With three other people. Bill was $500 and change. He dropped 10 C-notes on the bar, said “Fair enough?” I said “Absolutely.” Plus this was years ago, he was still dating Gisele Bundchen. Up close and in person she is every bit as stunning as you would imagine.
Pawnshop Rosslyn, circa 1989, Marion Barry, five Remy XO’s and a meal. Tip – zip, zero, zilch.
Thanks to Bob for those memories. We all have had many similar ones locally and I will try to put some together soon. It’s never only the money that makes it memorable – it’s how the perception often differs from reality and our own personal biases. Each of us had customers who didn’t fall into neat categories: nice guy but bad tipper; annoying person but great tipper; interesting public persona outside but totally boring and lame at the bar; mundane job and career but life of the party, probably helped by a d few drinks. That was always a big chunk of the job’s appeal – you saw people at their best and worst without much warning either way.