A friendly college rivalry has been a boost to restaurant workers, as fans and alumni of Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati try to out-tip each other.
The "tip war" started on Jan. 9, when a Xavier University alumnus and his daughter ate lunch at Zip's Cafe in Cincinnati. During the meal, he learned that his server was also an alum of the school. He tipped $1,000 on his $54.59 check, asking in a note that the server share the money with her coworkers as a thank you for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Go Xavier!" he added.
Zip's Cafe owner Mike Burke posted about this online, telling ABC News he wasn't bragging about the big tip, but wanted to share the "friendly generosity" of the patron. "I think it put a smile on more people than just the people that were directly affected by it," he explained. Two University of Cincinnati fans saw the post and left a $1,001 tip at the Keystone Bar & Grill, writing on their bill: "Let's see how long we can keep this going. Bearcats up by 1!"
Since then, Xavier and University of Cincinnati fans have been tipping generously at restaurants across the Cincinnati area. ABC News estimates the tip war has generated more than $34,000 for restaurant workers, with a University of Cincinnati fan leaving the biggest tip so far: $2,500. A $1,500 tip made at Incline Public House was different from the rest — in this case, the diner wrote: "I love both teams. Support our restaurants!"