Naivete about tipping and associated behaviour eventually got me into, shall we say, negotiations with the revenue-collection agency of the US federal govt. Still, no experience is not valuable in some way, right?


Noting with no little confusion that I failed to win the Florida Lotto last night (I’m sure there must be a mistake) it’s back to earning money the hard way – with tips from my limousine customers.

Moonlighting for The Boss’s Limousine Service hasn’t been as full of backseat rompers and sticky seats as I had imagined. Mostly it’s people in suits working for big companies, successful self-employed types and wealthier than average people coming and going. All but one of these people have been a delight to toil for.

The truth is that the highlight of any trip is the tip. Never having worked for tips before, I’m a little unsure of the protocol, especially with cash. When someone palms me a folded note, I can’t resist looking and trying to figure out what denomination it is. The correct way (I think) is to maintain one’s gaze at the customer, like a doorman at the Bellagio, and pretend it isn’t happening. (Okay, I’m thinking of the movie Casino, where Ginger has all the right people on her side with carefully distributed tips.)

I’ve been fiddling with the words, and feel that something like Thank you ma’am, that’s very generous of you, strikes the right tone. (And can be neatly ironic if it’s two bucks for four hours.)

Anyway, with limited observations, this is what I have learned: That nice people, no matter their wealth, will tip generously, and not-so-nice people, no matter their wealth, won’t.