This morning, Elijah and I went out for breakfast at a small local diner, Eva's Pancake House. After having breakfast, I walked up to the counter and told the manager of the restaurant that I would like to pick up the tab for everyone in the restaurant. This amounted to me paying for 9 meals (plus our own, but that didn't come out of the giving fund), and on top of that I tipped each of the waitresses $25. (Waitresses who were on multiple tickets did not get tipped multiple times. My hope is that the customers were so thrilled by having their meals paid for that they tipped generously on top of the amount I paid.)
Let me tell you, though ... if you want to be treated like a king, try a give like this. Early on a Saturday morning at a relatively low-traffic restaurant, it wouldn't even cost that much money ... especially if you cut the tip down to a normal 20% or so. (If I'd done the give about 20 minutes earlier, when we got to the restaurant, I'd only have had about half as many tables to pay for.) People came up to me to shake my hand, talking about how appreciative they were.
"I was having breakfast with my mother and sister. This just made our day," one woman told me.
A guy came up and said, "My kids wanted to thank you," and two teenage boys offered their thanks and asked questions.
One waitress said she had goosebumps over it. "God bless you! And he will!"
This was a big change over some of the earlier personal giving experiences. It's enough to give you a bit of an ego ... which makes it probably just as well that I saved this one until the end of the experiment. If I'd had an experience like this early on, I might not have given to any charities ... I'd have been out there giving every cent of the giving fund to people on the street.
The waitresses and some of the customers got my website info, so if any of you stop by, I'd love to hear from you in the Comments section about what you thought or felt about the experience.
Just one more day to go!