When Raskolnikov killed the pawnbroker in Crime and Punishment — for fear that the goods he stole could be used as evidence and swayed by the fever of his profound moral debacle — he buried them far, far from his home. Not a bad way to get rid of some burdensome valuables.
In Ogden, Utah, it seems someone was also trying to free himself of some little-needed cash: On two recent occasions, and possibly a third in a nearby town, a man generously tipped $5,000 on a bill of about $200, and $1,000 on bill of less than $50. The customer’s tips were so generous, in fact, that the machine at one bar didn’t allow the waiter to enter anything over a 100 percent tip. The restaurant let the man charge the rest of the amount as a purchase.
Not to suggest this man, a la Crime and Punishment, murdered an old woman and realized that he needed to get rid of the money, but the very act of leaving roughly 2,500 percent in gratuity raises a few question with regard to his motivations. What was he thinking? Would this likely premeditated tipping spree have gone on had the service been bad? Perhaps he was trying to launder money. Needless to say, making headlines isn’t the best way to launder money, but the process can be confusing, especially to those who are new to it. After all, between the time Office Space was released in 1999, and when Skyler White explained money laundering in Season 4 of Breaking Bad, nobody really knew how to do it.
Perhaps his motivations were kinder, and it would be wiser to compare him to the protagonist of another book, the 4th grade classic The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by of Roald Dahl, in which a character apathetic toward money throws cash out the window.
The generous Ogden tipper is likely to have been the very same one who, earlier that day, left $1,000 to a girl driving the concession cart at a golf course. Beyond what we can gather from deductive reasoning (he’s probably from Ogden and worked as a waiter), we know little about this man. Ultimately we know only that he puts to shame the many who do not even tip the baristas responsible for countless morning coffees.