Birthday boy leaves $1,000 tip for waiter in Albany, writes 'Pay it forward' on receipt

Posted at 3:14 PM, Jul 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-21 18:40:34-04

While most people expect to receive gifts on their birthday, one man left a substantial gift for a total stranger following a recent celebration in Albany, New York.

After celebrating his 47th birthday on July 16 with his wife in a wine bar and restaurant called The Ginger Man, ABC News says the birthday boy left a $1,000 gratuity for the waiter. After scratching out the patron's name, the business posted a photo of the receipt online.

"Pay it forward," was scribbled on the receipt, "My birthday present to me!"

Although the total payment is not added up properly, reports indicate the 878 percent tip was real.

The Times Union interviewed waiter Michael Shafts and wrote, "On the way out, the wife pulled Shafts aside and told him, as best as he remembers it, 'My husband has done something very special for you. It’s real, and he means it, so don’t be alarmed.'"

Manager Julie Byron told ABC News she saw the couple leave in a limousine before Shafts showed her the receipt.

"I did a double-take," she said. "Everybody was very excited. It's thrilling and it's especially unusual for something like that to happen in the capitol district."

Byron also told ABC that Shafts took the message on the receipt to heart, returning to work a few days later with envelopes of cash for all of the staff who had been working when the generous patron left the giant tip.