In case you missed it in yesterday’s Oxford Eagle, Soulshine waitress Chelsea Plunk was surprised with a $500 tip on Wednesday, courtesy of Seth Collins.
Collins has been traveling the country on a mission to fulfill his brother Aaron’s last dying wish to leave generous tips for waiters and waitresses. And ever since, people have been donating to the cause at aaroncollins.org (more than $62,000 has been donated so far).
After running into team members from Oxford-based PMQ Pizza Magazine who were covering an event in Lexington, Kentucky, Collins decided to make Oxford one of his tip-giving stops.
See the full story by Melanie Addington below:
TEARS OF JOY
‘Awesome tip’ left on behalf of brother
By Melanie Addington
Soulshine Pizza waitress Chelsea Plunk received quite a surprise at work Wednesday. A $500 surprise. The cash came in the form of a generous tip from Seth Collins, a customer who was passing through Oxford on his mission to spread a little unexpected happiness. Before Seth Collin’s brother, Aaron, died earlier this summer, Seth Collins didn’t plan to spend the next several months traveling the country to surprise wait staffs with $500 tips.
But after Aaron’s death, Seth discovered that his brother had made an unusual request in his will: He asked his family to leave generous tips for waitresses and waiters in the hopes that the extra cash might do some good. “Aaron passed away July 7, 2012, just three weeks after his 30th birthday,” Seth wrote on his blog. “He left us a will full of his personality. He asked that any debt he owed his parents be repaid should he have money in the bank at his death, but also had the following request: ‘Third, leave an awesome tip (and I don’t mean 25 percent. I mean $500 on a … pizza) for a waiter or waitress.’”
Seth said his brother had seen how a big tip could change a life. After an inexperienced waitress gave his brother bad service, she mentioned she would quit her job. Aaron left her a $50 tip and wrote a note that said simply, “Don’t give up.” Her attitude changed instantly.
The idea grew from there, said Seth, who added that he’s seen several pleasantly surprised looks on the faces of waiters and waitresses after he has a good meal. Seth has so far left 26 tips, and his mother has also left one in Conway, Texas, along with Aaron’s best friend.
The family is from Kentucky, which is where the majority of the tips are given, but Seth also tries to take the surprise on the road. On a trip to New Orleans, Seth decided to make a few stops, including one in Oxford. “I had met the folks from PMQ (the international pizza trade magazine headquartered in Oxford) when they were in town shooting a pizza bakeoff in Lexington,” Seth said. “I was familiar with those guys so I thought it would be nice to have them along and Oxford seemed like a nice, close stop on the route.”
Seth also stopped at a Waffle House in McComb to leave a tip on Wednesday. The typical reaction is disbelief, Seth said. Some think it’s a joke and only one has cried so far. People have been donating money to the cause to keep the generous tip bequeath going. While not as much money is coming in now, Seth said he has enough funds to do about 100 more. He hopes to leave at least one tip in every state in 2013. Every donation to the cause goes to the tips, as Seth pays for his own meal.
To learn more, visit aaroncollins. org. Videos of the surprise tips are also up at youtube.com/sethcollins.