Aaron Collins wrote his will when he was only 20 years old. In it, he made a simple but powerful request regarding the use of the money he left behind. First, he wanted to pay back his parents any debt he may have owed. Next, some of the money should be given to a homeless person. And finally, he wanted to leave an “awesome” tip for a waiter or waitress. “I’m not talking about 25%,” he wrote. “I mean $500 for a…pizza.”
When Collins died unexpectedly earlier this summer, he didn’t leave much, but the message he left was enough to trigger a giving spree. His family and friends fulfilled his request, tipping a waitress in Lexington, KY $500. The moment was recorded by Aaron’s brother Seth and posted on YouTube and the family’s memorial website, AaronCollins.org.
“Once after receiving exceptionally bad service at dinner, from a rude waitress, he left her a $50 tip,” Seth wrote on the site. “Things like this, given or received, were what he thought left a mark on a person’s life.”
Immediately after launching the site, the donations began rolling in. Within three days, the site had more than 1.3 million views and received nearly $30,000 in donations. With the money, the Collins family started giving a $500 tip to a waiter or waitress each week. In hopes of inspiring others with Aaron’s generosity, his family has appeared on NBC and CBS; and the site has received over $50,000 – enough to keep the tipping going, as well as messages from the Netherlands, Portugal, Brazil and Russia.
A People magazine article reported that the “Aaron Movement” has indeed inspired people everywhere. In San Francisco, for example, one man gave his cab driver a $500 tip in Aaron’s memory.
Do you agree that the “Aaron Movement” is an unexpected way to inspire our broader generosity, or do you think the funds raised so far should be applied to more “concrete” programs to help others? Have you seen a random act of awesome tipping, or performed one of your own? Share it here.