Tips for Jesus is a real thing. Damn Arbor verified it! Buzzfeed posted an article Wednesday showcasing the Instagram account Tips for Jesus and told the story of someone leaving giant tips at bars from Hollywood to Ann Arbor. Featured on the account is the smiling mug of Robbie Schulz—co-owner of and Alley Bar—holding a $215 bar tab with a $7,000 tip. The previous photo shows a tab for $87 at Bar Louie in Ann Arbor with a $3,000 tip.
But is Tips for Jesus real or is this a clever way to get out of leaving a tip? I sat down with Robbie on Thanksgiving Eve and he confirmed that this is legit. On a football Saturday in September with Notre Dame in town to play Michigan, the Tips for Jesus crew hit the town. At some point just before last call they tried to get into two Main Street bars but were turned away, so they found themselves at Alley Bar around 1:45am and were greeted by the friendly staff who was more than happy to get them a few drinks before last call. The Tips for Jesus crew was friendly, polite, nice and a pleasure to serve and they were clear that they were happy with the service and would take care of the staff at the end of the night.
Robbie thought that meant looking forward to a $50 tip or thereabouts. At the end of the night, TFJ pulled out a black American Express card and wrote 7,000 in the tip line, telling Robbie that it was 100% legit and he was good for it. The black AMEX card is invitation only and the average cardholder has $16.3 million in assets and a household income of $1.3 million. Robbie was well aware of these facts. He trusted this guy.
Robbie gave TFJ his card and the next day he returned to buy some t-shirts and take the picture that appears on the Instagram account. The tip cleared and Robbie distributed the money to the staff working that night, in addition to at least one employee who had the night off.
Looking at the rest of the Instagram account, TFJ has been distributing amazing tips throughout the midwest, in Utah and in California all fall. $10,000 in Hollywood. $5,000 in South Bend. The Tips from Jesus crew loves college football.
I emailed Tips from Jesus from my barstool and within 10 minutes they responded. TFJ confirmed that he’s a big college football fan, but especially into great excellent gameday experiences and environments. TFJ doesn’t have a favorite bar or city, but is really into Mao Tais lately (which is “A Chinese liquor made made out of sorghum and peas and other weird stuff. Smells awful.”)
There you have it. Tips for Jesus verified and confirmed. What’s the biggest tip you’ve ever left?