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Waitress at Flatbread in Portland gets $500 tip from man who left $41,000 in tips across country

Posted Dec. 10, 2013, at 3:33 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 10, 2013, at 4:25 p.m.
Emily Young
Kathleen Pierce | BDN
Emily Young

PORTLAND, Maine — It was a snowy, slow Monday afternoon at Flatbread Co. on Commercial Street. Waitress Emily Young expected to wait on a few tables and clock out.

Then a customer who had been traveling across the state waiting for this moment changed things.

“I went to collect the bill, he stood up and asked if he could talk to me,” said Young, 30, of Portland, who has worked for the pie company for four years.

She said she knew it wasn’t a complaint because the folks at another table were smiling.

Seth Collins, a 34-year-old Kentuckian, handed Young the 82nd $500 tip in his mission to travel the country leaving big tips in memory of his late brother, Aaron, who died at age 30.

Collins has passed out $41,000 across the Midwest, South, Pacific and Mountain West regions and hopes to hit all 50 states.

In Aaron Collins’ will, there was one rather odd request saved for the very end — he asked his family to leave an “awesome” $500 tip for a waiter or waitress.

Collins spoke with the Bangor Daily News about his quest last weekend while he visited Bangor.

Young had heard about the serial tipper, but didn’t know Collins was in Maine.

“He gave me the tip and explained about the road trip,” said Young, who was handed 20 dollar bills and a postcard about the odyssey. “It’s a noble story for his brother to have that wish. I’m excited that I was given a large chunk of change.”

The cash infusion arriving right before the holidays was put to good use.

“I tipped everyone out, one server and the person working in the kitchen,” said Young, who did her own version of paying it forward.

Later she took her friends out to dinner and picked up the tab.

“That’s not something that I usually do.”

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