After Weeks of Struggling to Make Ends Meet, Hair Stylist Surprised With $2,500 Tip From Walk-in Customer

A 32-year-old hair stylist was left crying tears of joy after a walk-in customer surprised her and her co-workers with a hefty tip for their services.

Illsia Novotny, a stylist at Floyd’s Barbershop at the University of Denver, has been struggling to make ends meet since the salon closed amidst the novel coronavirus lockdowns two months ago.

Although her regular customers had been sending her Venmo payments to support her during the closures, the single mother had been forced to negotiate special arrangements for the rent and utility bills at her home in Aurora, Colorado.

Since the barbershop recently reopened to the public with strict sanitary and social distancing guidelines in place, Novotny was finally able to return to work earlier this month.

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She had just been finishing up a busy Saturday shift last week when a man walked in for a haircut. As Novotny trimmed his hair, they chatted about baseball, Colorado, and the difficulties of making it through the quarantine. After Novotny finished the job and started sweeping up the floors, the man settled his bill with the receptionist—but before he left the store, he made a puzzling parting comment.

“Just so you know,” he told her, “it’s not a mistake.”

Minutes later, the salon’s tearful receptionist ran over to her station and told her that the man had tipped her $2,500. Not only that, he had given $500 to the receptionist, $1,000 to the general manager, and $1,800 to be divided amongst the shop’s 18 employees.

Photo by Floyd’s Barbershop

Altogether, he left $5,800 in tips.

“I cried,” Novotny told The Denver Post. “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.”

Floyd’s Barbershop has since shared the heartwarming story with national news outlets and social media pages as a means of showing their gratitude to the anonymous benefactor.

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“The support we’ve seen since being able to reopen some of our shops where regulations allow has been astounding. This is just one great story from one of our Denver shops,” wrote the shop’s Facebook page. “Thank you to our communities for supporting us during this time.”

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