Cash Tips

In 1979 I found myself as a single parent with two little kids, trying to figure out my life in a world I had never planned to live in. I had shared custody with my kids’ mom. By day I was the Senior Chaplain at a huge state institution for the disabled, but I needed something to do on the three or four nights a week when I was home alone. I thought maybe I could be a waiter. I went down and talked with Jerry A., who owned “The Peppermill” which was ‘the place to be’ during that current oil boom in Oklahoma. If you haven’t lived in a boom town it was a lot like Silver City, NV during the gold rush… lots and lots of money and free spending. Jerry was game to bring on his staff a “preacher/waiter”. I soon learned a new trade.

I had the kids most every Sunday, through Wednesday morning. I would get them to day care and preschool and then be “daddy” each evening. Then from Wednesday to Saturday evening I was double dipping as a chaplain/ waiter. I found I could carry a tray over my shoulder with five flaming ‘Surf n’ Turfs’. Very soon it became apparent to me that I was often making as much in a week serving folks, as I did in a month working for the state with a Masters degree. It was nothing to have a few thousand dollars in my sock drawer. Tipping took on a new meaning. Everyone should have to work as a server for a year or so. You learn a whole lot.

It was 34 years later that ‘tipping’ reentered my world. Lyft drivers are often tipped, and though it is never expected it is always appreciated. Most people tip through their phone on the Lyft App. At the end of a week Lyft totals up your tips and includes it in your weekly pay. However, occasionally people hand you a cash tip which is a real affirmation of a good ride. On Monday I had three different rides hand me some ones. I put the wad of ones in my jacket pocket, completely forgetting about them. I do remember each ride. 1. An older woman who used Lyft to go shopping. She smiled and patted my hand as she tipped me. 2. A man that I picked up at a Longmont hospital. Insurance companies are now contracting with Lyft for patient transportation. He was a very frail man. I remember thinking “please don’t pass out in my front seat”. It was a quiet ride, I watched him struggle to put on his seat belt. Life had not been easy, I guess. I pulled up in his driveway and asked if he needed any help. “No thanks, but this is for you” (five ones). 3. Was in old town Arvada, a group of three “boomers” out for lunch. The guy in the group sat in the front seat. He shared he was from Serbia. “Nikola Jokic” AKA ‘the Joker’. FYI— he is a 4th year Denver

Nugget basketball player whose skills and character are without parallel. My rider told me of the small town he was from. He was thrilled that his local kid was in ‘my fandom wheelhouse’. I loved his Slavic accent. As they left he also handed me a few ones.

Today, Saturday I have a routine; I buy coffee at Dunkin Doughnuts, I go to AA at 7am at York St, I get my car washed at Waterworks, then go to an OA Big Book study at 9. I had enough dollar bills to cover it all, including a tip at the car wash. I love tipping with tip money— here is a tip — keep the money flowing— tip on!!!

Onward and Upward, Mark

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