During the 1990s, Deedre Daniel waited tables at two Applebees locations and bartended at a French restaurant, Chez Pierre, in Tallahassee, Florida. It was hard work, and the compensation was heavily dependent on the generosity of total strangers. She vowed when she “made it,” she would surprise people working in the service industry with huge tips.
In 2018, she faced significant crossroads in her career and perspective on life. She had slipped into a funk. She was burned out and felt stuck, bored, and numb. She thought she needed a new challenge and a career change, so she left her “safe job” at GEICO for a small company.
And she was let go nine months later.
There she was: unemployed for the first time in 20 years – and just before Christmas. Deedre knew she wanted more meaning and purpose in her life, and she wanted her daily activities to be more aligned with her values. She did some serious soul-searching and decided she wanted to build businesses that inspired creativity, positivity, laughter, and connections. And she still wanted to be that philanthropist, too.
There was one big hurdle to jump: she was not the multi-millionaire she always wanted to become. (And being unemployed seemed like the worst time to be handing out money.) She came up with a solution: Create an organization that people, foundations, and companies could donate to and receive a tax write-off.
She founded The Big Fat Tip, Inc., filed paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service, and pulled money out of her retirement and savings accounts to cover the start-up costs such as legal and filing fees, website and design costs, and the first five $1,000 tips.
A few months later, the IRS approved The Big Fat Tip as a legitimate 501(c)(3)!
Deedre gave out the first five $1,000 tips in Clearwater, FL, Columbus, OH, Washington, D.C., Norfolk, VA, and Orlando, FL. Whenever possible, she included other people to witness these random acts of kindness to feel the tangible emotions these actions produced.
She frequently enlists the help of vetted volunteers to hand the money directly to the recipients because she wants people on both sides of the transaction to walk away feeling more joyful and inspired to carry the positive energy and the entire movement forward. The volunteers are often more excited to give the money than the recipient! They enthusiastically talked about it long after it happened.
Listen to Deedre’s story on the Shut Up and Say Something!® podcast episode 25.
She has big plans and will launch fundraising campaigns to blanket American cities with considerable sums of money using teams of prequalified volunteers to hand out the tips. She has an even bigger dream: To collect enough donations to hand out a million dollars in tips in one U.S. city with teams of volunteers in just 24 hours! She is determined to make it happen in the future.
Deedre, as well as all members of the board, are volunteers and do not receive compensation from The Big Fat Tip donations. We operate on a very lean operations budget, so your donation goes to people working for tips in the service industry. Accountability and transparency are other reasons each Big Fat Tip is filmed and photographed – you see where your money is going! We want you to experience the joy of helping random strangers, too. These “big tips” are also administered through credit or debit cards so that the funds receive an extra level of tracking and transparency for everyone to see.
The Mission of The Big Fat Tip is to Deliver Hope and Create Positive, Memorable Moments for People Working in the U.S. Service Industry. And we do that by giving unusually large surprise gratuities to people who normally rely on them as a part of their compensation. Our hope is these generate a lasting feeling of joy for both the giver and the receiver of the tip.
These big fat tips are meant to be RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS for people working in the United States of America who rely on gratuities for compensation. A random act of kindness must be a surprise! There are no pre-qualifications, and there is no application process to be a giver or a receiver of a big fat tip. The Big Fat Tip DOES NOT ACCEPT REQUESTS for big fat tips from anyone, whether that person is requesting a big fat tip for themselves, a specific co-worker, employee, friend, or relative. Any and all requests for big fat tips will automatically disqualify the requester and anyone named in such a request from receiving a big fat tip. Any and all recipients selected to receive a big fat tip may not be Immediate Family to or have a personal relationship with any member of The Big Fat Tip’s Board of Directors or any person volunteering on behalf of The Big Fat Tip. The term Immediate Family includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as in-laws, or by current or past marriage(s), remarriage(s), adoption, co-habitation or other family extensions, and any other persons residing at the same household whether or not related. Any and all recipients selected shall not have previously received a $1,000 big fat tip from The Big Fat Tip, Inc., within the preceding 12 months. If a recipient is disqualified for any reason, The Big Fat Tip reserves the right to determine an alternate recipient or not to give a big fat tip to that recipient, in its sole discretion.