Single mom gets $2,500 tip from anonymous barbershop customer

by Peter Heck · May 18th, 2020 9:58 am

A 32-year-old single mother who works as a hairstylist at Floyd's 99 barbershop in Denver, Colorado, got the surprise of a lifetime after a customer left her a $2,500 tip.

After a busy day of cutting hair after a months-long lockdown in the state, Illsia Novotny welcomed a walk-in customer who said he had recently moved to Denver from Chicago. An avid Chicago Cubs fan herself, the hairstylist spent the next several minutes talking to her client about everything from baseball to the difficulties brought on by the last two months.

As he was leaving, the unidentified customer said to Novotny, "Just so you know, it's not a mistake." Although she was confused at first, her co-workers quickly informed her that the man had left her a $2,500 tip.

"I cried," Novotny said. "I'm a single mother. It's been rough the last few months not knowing what's going to happen, not knowing when we might reopen so I could go back to work."

Without an income, Novotny has relied on the generosity of loyal clients sending her Venmo donations, as well as the flexibility of her landlord to extend rent payments. She said she was able to use the generous tip to pay her June rent in advance.

The anonymous benefactor also left an additional $3,300 divided up between the receptionist, general manager, and remaining 18 staff members.


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