“Am I Counting This Right? Did They Think Those were Five $10s?”

On 3 July 2013, Kristen Ruggiero waited on a couple at Uncle Tony’s Pizza and Pasta restaurant in Cranston, Rhode Island. She got to talk them a little, and she learned that the man was 50 and the woman was 48 and that they had gotten together again after having broken up for a while. They learned that Ms. Ruggiero is a single mother with three children aged five, 10, and 15. She brought them their check: $42. They left the restaurant after leaving five $100 bills in Ms. Ruggiero’s black check holder. She remembers picking up the money and thinking, “Am I counting this right? Did they think those were five $10s?” She did not have the couple’s names, so she put the money aside, hoping that they would return to the restaurant so she could give them their money back. The couple did return — over a month later, on August 13. Ms. Ruggiero said, “I was so excited to see them a second time.” She discovered that no mistake had been made — the couple intentionally left behind a $458 tip. The man said, “It was no mistake.  You deserved it.” She thanked them and waited on them again. Their check was $48, and they left her a generous $22 tip. Ms. Ruggiero said about the couple, “I just figured they were really nice people.” She used the money to pay some bills and take her children to a Six Flags amusement park. Fellow employee Christine Lamoureux said, “We were just so happy for her because she deserves it out of anyone at this place the most. Because she’s a single mother of three and she works so hard and she’s just an amazing  person.”

For Further Information: Gail Ciampa, “Cranston Waitress tipped $458 on $42 check.” Providence Journal (Rhode Island). 22 August 2012


For Further Information: “Kristen Ruggiero, Rhode Island Waitress, Receives 1,000-Percent Tip.” Huffington Post. 24 August 2013


For Further Information: Abbey Niezgoda, “Cranston waitress lands $458 tip on $42 tab.” WLNE (Providence, Rhode Island). 23 August 2012; updated 7 September 2012


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