Denver Salon Receives $5,800 from Grateful Customer

An employee at a money changer counts USD 100 bills in Manila on October 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

Illsia Novotny of Denver received an unexpected windfall after a grateful customer left a massive tip on May 9.

Novotny was not even scheduled to work at Floyd’s 99 barbershop at the University of Denver on Saturday, but now she is certainly glad she did. When a gentleman walked in for one of a host of badly needed post-pandemic haircuts, Novotny greeted him and chatted about their mutual love of the Chicago Cubs.

The unnamed customer went to the counter to pay. As he left, he told Novotny “Just so you know, it’s not a mistake.” The stylist only had moments to be confused before her coworkers rushed her with the news: he had left her a $2,500 tip for the trim. And the good news just kept coming: $1,000 was left for the salon’s manager, $500 for the receptionist, and $100 for each of the salon’s 18 other staff members.

“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.” After months spent trying to make arrangements for rent and utilities, Novotny was able to use the tip to pay for June in advance.

Novotny expressed her gratitude — not only for the anonymous stranger’s good will, but the community’s support in general. “Coming back and having clients, even people you don’t know, show so much love, it felt great,” she said.

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