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We Gave Listeners $10,000 to Hand Out as Tips. See What Happened

Crazy Good Turns invited listeners to take part in a holiday tradition and give oversized tips to waitstaff at restaurants and cafes
In 2023 we invited members of Crazy Good Turns' mailing list to take part in a holiday tradition.

Every year, on or around Thanksgiving, our founder Frank Blake stops at a Waffle House. He'll order a normal meal at regular price. And afterward, he'll leave a $50 or $100 tip for the server.

He does this as a way to say "thank you." Somebody waiting tables at a cafe or diner on a holiday is working hard, and may be away from their family.

We feel like that should be acknowledged. So we invited CGT listeners to join Frank in giving out generous tips - on our dime.

Fully 200 of our listeners received $50 gift cards to hand out as oversized tips. They could give them out anywhere, to any server.

Here are some of their stories.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this year's generosity activation! If you want to be a part of a future one, be sure to sign up here.

(Note: stories are edited for length and clarity.)

We don't go out to eat very often so I asked my in-laws if they knew anyone at the places they eat out at who might need help. They immediately thought of Patty, who works at a place where they go to breakfast frequently.

They went to breakfast the next morning. They said that Patty was very happy and was blown away and close to tears. Patty's hours at work had been cut that week so the extra $50 was very helpful. Also, my mother-in-law has stage 4 breast cancer so she enjoyed being able to help out someone else. It brought joy to my mother-in-law.

RICH MARLAY, Jonesboro, AR
a group of people posing for a photo

We were so excited to give the Crazy Good Turns letter and gift card to our favorite waitress, Taylor, this past Sunday, November 12th. My hubby and I go to Annie's Pancake House, here in Mt. Prospect, IL, every Sunday morning at 8:00. We try to always sit in the same booth where we know Taylor will be serving. She works every weekend at Annie's and works full time during the week as a medical assistant.

We LOVE Taylor's beautiful smile and bubbly personality. Thanks for making it possible for us to do this for her!

-NANCY BUSSAN, Mount Prospect, IL

a person sitting at a table
My wife and 10-year-old granddaughter stopped by the Waffle House in Acworth and gave the gift card to a young waitress named Mattie. She is a young mother so will certainly put the $50 to good use.

I thank you so much for doing this. It's inspiring! Have a wonderful holiday season!

a man and woman taking a selfie in a restaurant
On Wednesday I gifted Matthew at Small World Coffee in Princeton. Matthew shares his beautiful energy with a smile. He is attentive and thoughtful - the team at Small World are all lovely so it was hard to gift to one. Here's a picture of me with Matthew, who has a mustache for "Movember" :)

It was fun and meaningful to share the work of Crazy Good Turns with everyone in the coffee shop at the time of gifting so my hope is more folks will listen and be touched and inspired as I am.

-LOUISE PROFIT, Pennington, NJ
a group of people posing for a photo
I gave the gift card to Jess Walhof, who has done several good turns for me. She is a supporter of many runners in our community. She helped my friend Barry and I this fall when Barry ran a 200-mile race. She was our support crew. She also volunteers at other races. She is a very giving person and her actions help so many. I felt she deserved it!

Thanks for helping us celebrate Jess!

-LANCE SMITH, Sioux Falls, SD
a couple of women holding a piece of paper
I had a wonderful server Karen at Sunny Side Up restaurant in Hudson, FL who I presented the gift card to.

We also added a cash tip as we fully enjoyed her prompt and friendly service during our breakfast service.

Thank you for providing me this opportunity to give back to others, this is why I worked for Home Depot for 27 years.

-CHERYL FERREIRA, Hernando Beach, FL
a man and woman posing for a picture
Hello Frank, thank you for sending the gift card from Crazy Good Turns. We went out to dinner tonight at the Hare and the Hound in Putnam, CT, and gave the gift card to our server. I do not use social media any longer so I am sending you the picture. Thank you again for your kind work and positive work, love your show. Wishing you a fabulous holiday.

a person holding a certificate
Our server provided outstanding service for my Mom's 86th birthday celebration this evening. She appreciated her gift card from Crazy Good Turns.

a group of people posing for the camera
Just wanted to say Thank You for the gift card program. I had the opportunity to share mine yesterday with wonderful young man at Longhorn in Enfield, CT.

His name is Andy. He was having a really tough night. It was very busy at the restaurant. He went above and beyond to make my Mothers 87th birthday special.

Andy has made friends for life.

-MICHELE MINNIEAR, West Springfield, MA
a stack of paper money
During lunch today I met Taylor, a lovely waitress at a Cobb Country Waffle House who wants to give her kids a memorable holiday vacation. I hope this tip makes a difference. I think I'll do this again before the holidays with my own money. Frank may have given me a new tradition.

I HIGHLY recommend those who can afford to do so do the same. It feels pretty darn good helping others any way you can.

-DOUG PISIK, Marietta, GA
a person holding a bag of food
May I introduce you to Roberta. She's a superwoman at the food pantry. When I received the generous card from Crazy Good Turns, I was racking my brain about who to share it with. I went numerous times to my favorite coffee drive thru, but it didn't feel right — not until this morning.

You see, Roberta has been volunteering at the pantry for over three years now. She does a couple of shifts a week and fills in for absences. Evert Wednesday, without failure, she gets up early and makes us all a breakfast treat.

Thank you for letting me brighten her day for a change. Many best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

-N., Quincy, MA
a person holding a sign
Thanks Crazy Good Turns for gifting $50 to my favorite waitress at Nong's Thai restaurant in the Twin Cities. Felt great to spread such crazy good joy.

-BEV BACHEL, Minneapolis, MN
a couple of women holding signs
I told my wife Margaret about the gift card and asked who she thought was our favorite barista or server. She immediately said, "Belinda at Papa Vino's in St Joseph (MI)." I completely agreed.

We have been coming in for years now with a group of 15-20 people and Belinda is our server almost every time. Usually, we arrive later at night on a Saturday, so Belinda has more than her share of weekend and evening work shifts.

Belinda excels at her job, but even more noticeable is her kind spirit. Belinda's good heart shows in her interactions with people and makes her the kind of person that immediately comes to mind when you are asked "who is your favorite server?" Thank you Belinda!

-CHRIS METCALF, Stevensville, MI
a group of people posing for a photo
During this time of year, the Season of Giving it is important that we take care of those who provide a service to us.

Today, my wife Tina Rossi and I had lunch at The Ogden Tap Room in Wilmington, NC. We were greeted and served by a young lady, Cori, who was an outstanding waitress. With the permission of her manager I, along with my wife, presented the gift card to Cori for her great work.

-MIKE ROSSI, Wilmington, NC
a couple of women holding a book
We had such fun delivering the surprise $50 gift card to our favorite server, Ellie! She works very hard at Bloom Bakeshop and Lallande Bistro in Madison, WI. Her infectious smile and positive energy light up the room.

She was so surprised and grateful, and her eyes welled up when she hugged me. She couldn't stop thanking us for the thoughtful gift.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping us spread holiday joy to those who deserve it.

a man holding a box
I wanted to share a fun story about your gift card giveaway.

I grew up in Evanston, IL, home of Northwestern University. My entire life when I have said I was from Evanston, people assumed I attended Northwestern. But Northwestern is very expensive and very difficult to get in. We were not rich, and I was at best a mediocre student. The closest I got was my Grandmother, a Hopi/Mexican Immigrant who had worked in the cafeteria there for over ten years.

Fast forward to last week. I proudly graduated from Kellogg in their Executive Masters Program in Non-Profit Leadership. The final class there is a Capstone Project that is completely immersive-you stay in a residence on campus. Classes run from 8 am to 9 pm with servers at each meal and snacks.

I was completely amazed by the quality of service- it was perfection! And I wanted some way to pay tribute to my Grandmother. So it was a perfect place yesterday for me to give my gift card from you to this lovely woman who had done such excellent work for our group. Here is a photo of Frida, who exemplifies great service.

-RICK PLANOS, Evanston, IL

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