An informal $100 Tip Club—or clubs—just might be rolling through Northern Colorado.    

A group of 10 recently met for breakfast in Greeley to shower an unsuspecting waitress with a holiday surprise: a $1,000 cash tip.   

Dec. 23 was perfect timing for the single mom working at a Greeley Village Inn (pictured below). 

How does the $100 Tip Club work?   

Barry Gustafson, a Loveland insurance agent, has gathered business friends for a meal and a surprise for a couple of Decembers now. The recent mega-tip trip took place after a friend reached out to him to organize one in Greeley. After a few phone calls and short notice, a group of 10 decided to meet at a Greeley Village Inn. After paying for their meal, each guest adds a crisp $100 to the tipping kitty. Barry noted that Bryan Guest of Great Western Bank in Greeley kindly picked up the givers’ breakfast tabs this time.    

big tip at a Greeley, Colorado, Village Inn
Courtesy of Barry Gustafson
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Barry borrowed the idea from C3 Real Estate Solutions' John Simmons, who has been paying it forward in various ways at restaurants since 2006, when he left the hospitality and restaurant industry. Several Group Real Estate Realtors have also showered tips upon servers for years.  

Barry often carries an extra Franklin in his wallet for a bit of additional giving on his own, but the power of numbers makes a real difference, he says.  

“I’ve been blessed. I can afford it,” Barry said. “One hundred dollars doesn’t do much. But you get 10 people together, $1,000 is a lot.”    

big tippers at Urban Egg in Johnstown, Colorado
Courtesy of John Simmons
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Earlier in the month, Barry took part in one of John’s gatherings at the Urban Egg (pictured above) in Johnstown that brought out 20 people who provided a $2,000 tip split with $800 each going to a waiter and waitress and $100 apiece going to two cooks.   

The waiter told the group that the money was “gonna save me” as his roommate had lost his job and had COVID-19, leaving the tip receiver to foot the rent bill.   

That stop was one of five for John, with big tip surprises also left at AKA Kitchen in Loveland, Mash Labs in Windsor, Bonefish Grill in Johnstown and Cracker Barrel in Loveland.   

big tippers at Mash Labs in Windsor, Colorado
Courtesy of John Simmons
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A few friends of John’s and his family have tipped big and also buy meals for patrons that inspire them: an elderly couple holding hands, young adults praying, families with many children, single people, etc. He opened the $100 Tip Club to his Facebook community this year.  

Barry suspects that with more time to pull a “club” meeting together that 20 is the norm to make future meal surprises. The recent rounds might have spread holiday cheer, but he’s inspired to gather quarterly to share the love with servers across Northern Colorado.  

John hopes the inspiration catches with more people finding “a way to spread the love or pay it forward.” 

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