Lifestyle & Human Interest

Walk-In Customer Stuns Stylist with $2,500 Tip and $3,300 for Rest of Salon Staff


It’s been a rocky two months for many employees or former employees of businesses that have been forced to shut their doors to customers thanks to the coronavirus.

There have been generous patrons that have helped out as they could, donating or buying gift cards to use at local spots once they are allowed to open for business, but few have the means to drop several thousand in one go.

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop in Denver, Colorado, opened up again Saturday for the first time since closing in mid-March.

Ilisia Novotny was ready to jump back to work after the unplanned hiatus, and her schedule was crammed with appointments.

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But her biggest break came right at the end of her day.

“I had 15 minutes left in my shift, and he walked up and asked if I could squeeze him in,” Novotny told ABC’s “Good Morning America” of a nameless gentleman who soon became her hero. “I know how many people are desperate for a haircut right now so I didn’t mind.”

The two chatted about how difficult things had been for people with jobs affected by the closures and other various topics. When her client was leaving, he turned and said something that confused her.

“Just so you know,” she recalled him saying, “the tip is not a mistake”

It didn’t take long for her to realize he must be talking about the sizable tip he’d left for her on the receipt for his $27 bill.

“I cried,” Novotny told The Denver Post. “I’m a single mother. It’s been rough the last few months not knowing what’s going to happen, not knowing when we might reopen so I could go back to work.”

“My son was like, ‘If you don’t have a job, how are we gonna pay bills?'”

The tip was for $2,500 — but the generous patron didn’t stop there. He left $500 to the receptionist, $1,000 to the general manager and $100 for each of the other 18 employees for a staggering total of $5,800 in tips.

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“I was just in complete shock,” Novotny told ABC.

“This came at a crucial time for me,” she added. “He didn’t want to make a big show of it, but it’s truly a blessing, and I have so much appreciation. I still can’t believe it.”

“For him to come back and give out such generous tips to all my colleagues really just left me speechless,” Novotny said. “I can’t even tell you how much this means to us all.”

“Coming back and having clients, even people you don’t know, show so much love, it felt great,” she added to The Post.

The barbershop shared the stories of the encounter on its Facebook page.

“The support we’ve seen since being able to reopen some of our shops where regulations allow has been astounding,” the business posted. “This is just one great story from one of our Denver shops. Thank you to our communities for supporting us during this time.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking