We all know that celebrities make way too much money for what they do. In a fair world, people such as scientists, doctors, and inventors – people who make real contributions to humanity – wouldn’t make pennies compared to actors, singers, and athletes. But that’s the way the world is. This list spotlights ten cases of celebrities going generous big time, returning the gratitude and love to some everyday hard-working people. So if you wonder why celebrities like Bono, Oprah, and Bill Gates are not included, it’s only because this list focuses on celebrities who actually pay from their own pockets rather than from some foundations.
10. Charlie Sheen’s mythical tips, donations and gifts
When his daughter celebrated her sweet sixteen birthday party, Charlie tipped every single person that worked for the event (and trust us, there were many) $200 each, and every porn star who has kept him company describes the mythical gifts she has received – gold earrings, pearl necklaces, and gold watches costing thousands. But nothing can top the time Charlie gave – from his own pocket, withdrawn from his own personal account (and no, it wasn’t a publicity stunt) – $75,000 to help a child in his battle against cancer. Charlie’s only comment: “No parent should have to watch their kid go through that.”
Can anyone wonder why we love Charlie so much?
9. Elvis handed out Cadillac cars like M&M’s
Elvis, the king of Rock n’ Roll, the biggest selling solo artist of all time and one of the biggest pop icons of the 20th century, was also legendary for his spontaneous generosity – so generous that one of his favorite hobbies was giving super-expensive Cadillacs to his friends – and a few times to random strangers as well. One of the most touching times was when Elvis bought for an elderly African-American woman a yellow two-door Coupe de Ville. Elvis was inside the Cadillac dealership buying cars for himself and his friends when he saw an older black woman outside the store looking and looking at the cars. Elvis went out and asked her, “Would you like to have one of those?” The woman replied, ‘’Oh, I could never afford one of those cars.” Elvis said “Just a minute,” and went back inside to buy the car for her. He went out again and gave her the keys, telling her, “Enjoy it. It’s yours.” No wonder he was called “The King.”
8. Ellen DeGeneres makes some noise with a $10,000 tip and a shiny red car
We love Ellen DeGeneres. Actually she’s the inspiration for this list since she recently shocked the world with her generosity and patriotism. Evidently Ellen was touched by the story of a Concord, New Hampshire, waitress named Sarah Hoidahl, who picked up the $28 tab for two National Guard soldiers after she overheard them say how difficult things were while they were unpaid during the government shutdown. She left a note for the soldiers that read:
“Thanks to the government shutdown the people like you that protect this country aren’t getting paid. However, I still am. Lunch is on me! Thank you for serving ladies!’’
So the Ruby Tuesday’s waitress, who happens to be a single mother, left work that day with only $8 in her pocket – not even enough to put gas in her car. Her lucky stars didn’t turn their back on her though. Ellen DeGeneres found out what Sarah had done and decided to take action. She invited the 22-year-old waitress to appear on her show and presented her with a check for $10,000 as Sarah and the audience went wild with joy. A few days later Ellen struck again. She visited New Hampshire pretending to be a local journalist and shocked Sarah again by giving her a new Hyundai Santa Fe Sport so the young waitress wouldn’t have to swap off her old car back and forth with her mom anymore. So what can we learn from this story? Do a good deed and Ellen might pay you back some day.
7. Jay Z leaves the most unusual 20% tip you can imagine
So what’s the big deal with Jay leaving a predictable 20% tip? Well, in this rare case, 20% translates in something like $50,000. Yep, no matter how unbelievable this story sounds, it’s 100% true, and it all happened at the same Miami nightclub where Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban had celebrated his team’s win of the NBA championship by spending $100,000 on drinks. Back in 2011 Jay Z and his buddy Kanye West were celebrating their new album Watch the Throne. Maybe Jay had something to prove, because he started ordering bottle after bottle of the most expensive champagne, managing to run up a tab of $250,000 – all in champagne. Sure, it sounds like Jay tipped like this for his ego and not from generosity and sure, the $50,000 tip is just about a standard 20%, but still… he sure made a lot of wait staffers happy that night!
6. Johnny Depp’s $4,000 tip
Even those who don’t much care for Johnny Depp may become admiring fans after hearing this story. Depp is soft-spoken and humble, and a sophisticated and ultra-talented actor, but what is less well-known is that he’s really generous too. And no, we’re not referring to his many donations to third-world countries. While filming Public Enemies, he organized a little party for Michael Mann, the director, and his co-star Marion Cotillard at Gibsons, his favorite Chicago steakhouse. The small group spent a little over $500 in appetizers and a few bottles of wine, but Johnny decided to leave an astonishing $4,000 to their waiter – about forty times more than the more usual 20% tip.
5. Naomi Campbell’s epic £5,000 tip
This might be the biggest shocker and surprise on this list. We don’t know what went wrong that night, or if Naomi was desperate and in need of some good karma, or just totally drunk, or what… but we are so not used to this kind of news when we hear about the famous model. Naomi is known for being the ultimate obnoxious bitch that often mistreats anyone she’s around, including the people she works with. All that might be the reason the waitress who served her and Cameron Diaz was in so much shock that she couldn’t even spell “Thank you” when Naomi tipped her £5,000.
Witnesses to the incident say that Naomi was having a great time with her friend Cameron Diaz and for the bigger part of the night they were both holding glasses of vodka in their hands while dancing nonstop. Probably the British model was a little tipsy… that’s the only way we can explain her unusual kindness and generosity.
4. David Beckham makes big headlines for his generosity shortly after landing in L.A.
When people think of David Beckham they usually think of the man who is possibly the most famous – and richest – soccer player ever, the best-dressed athlete in the world of sports, and the guy with wild haircuts, fast cars, numerous sponsorships… and Posh Spice. Not many are aware of his philanthropy and generosity. In 2008, shortly after he arrived in L.A., David and his new teammates went for drinks at Joxer Daly’s bar after winning a friendly match. The bill wasn’t more than $100 but David, who had scored twice in the match and was in a really good mood, left $1000 – a $900 tip for his server Claudia Belden. The director of the 2002 film Bend it like Beckham obviously knew something that we didn’t.
3. Russell Crowe leaves a £600 tip in macho fashion
When most people hear the name of Russell Crowe, they think either of Gladiator or of an obnoxious rude guy who picks on journalists and even fans, a guy whose favorite activity is being an ass. That’s one side of the coin, but there’s a flip side as well: on a good day, Russell Crowe is a really generous guy. When he was in Wales filming Robin Hood, Russell made the Carew Inn Pub near Tenby into front-line news all over the showbiz world. After a meal with nine of his friends – which didn’t cost more than £250 ($400) – he left an astonishing tip of £600 ($950) for the ten-member staff. For the record, Russell and his friends feasted on mussels and a chicken dish inspired by British telly’s celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
2. Peyton Manning gives a generous tip to his waiter – moments before he gets fired
All right, maybe Peyton offered pennies compared to the other celebrities on this list, but we still thought his story should make the cut because of all the drama that followed.
Manning and friends had lunch at The Angus House in Raleigh, North Carolina, and ran up a bill of just under $740. Peyton was the one paying and, obviously satisfied with the meal, he decided to leave an extra bonus of $200 for the waiter, even though an 18% gratuity was included in the bill. That brought the total tip up to $333, a whopping 45%. The excited server couldn’t believe his luck and decided to show off by posting the receipt online. Unfortunately, that cost him a little something because he was fired for it shortly after. The owner considered the posting an embarrassment contrary to the privacy policies of the restaurant. She showed the server the door and promised to call Peyton Manning to offer him her personal apology. Some people take the rules way too seriously.
1. Brad Pitt invades the world of the greatest celebrity tippers
Brad Pitt has been known as Hollywood’s sexiest male for the past two decades and for being Angelina Jolie’s partner, but he never had any particular reputation for being a great tipper. In Germany last summer, he took Angelina to a Japanese restaurant to celebrate her birthday. The bill was about $1100, and after eating all that delicious Japanese food, Brad felt generous enough to leave the waitress a 70% tip. To make it easier for the readers, that means he gave her $700, paying a total of a little over $1800. Her reaction in her own words? “My knees were shaking. I shared the tip with fifteen of my colleagues.”
The local waitress was kind enough to share that money with her colleagues, but it seems that American servers are mad at Brad Pitt now. He has never left a similar tip on American soil. Maybe Brad just appreciates German service, or was it really the Japanese food?