The man who has been leaving large tips under the name @tipsforjesus—rumored to be former PayPal Vice President Jack Selby—reportedly isn’t doling out cash because of a passion for Christ.
The generous tipper gave an exclusive interview to San Francisco Magazine, published Wednesday, on the condition he remain anonymous. But speculators still say the tipper is Selby, who made a fortune when eBay bought PayPal in 2002.
The tipper—or possibly a group of tippers—has left around $130,000 in gratuities in the last six months in more than a dozen different cities throughout the United States and Mexico, the magazine reports.
The description on the @tipsforjesus Instagram account, full of photos of receipts with hefty tips, says, “Doing the Lord’s work, one tip at a time.” But San Francisco Magazine denies that the movement is an example of Christian generosity.
“The movement we have started is intended to be agnostic,” the tipper said. “It’s just about helping people out.”
The magazine claims the Tips for Jesus movement includes about 10 tippers. The central figure said everyone should give a little extra, even if it’s not thousands of dollars.
“It’s not hard to give back. ... When justified by great service, magnanimous gratuities are achievable by everyone—no excuses,” he said.
The high-roller said the goal is to create a stream of copycats, with which social media has helped immensely.
“Before we meet, he emails me a news story about a trio of diner waitresses in Caledonia, Ill., who’d each been tipped $5,000 by a woman ostensibly inspired by Tips for Jesus,” author Ellen Cushing writes. “When I ask him about it, he breaks into a wide smile and tells me that this is exactly what he had hoped to inspire from the beginning.”
The anonymous tipper said he is also involved in traditional philanthropy and that some of his friends who were “indifferent to conventional forms of charity have taken to Tips for Jesus with unexpected fervor,” Cushing reports.