Apparently some of the most famous millionaires were frugal in certain pet areas. J.D. Rockefeller, Jr it seems was an awful tipper. “He does it,” the article says, “but with a painful effort.”
When Mr. Rockefeller, Jr., goes into a downtown restaurant for lunch he eats quite a lot and gives the impression of having a jolly time. The moment comes for paying. Mr. Rockefeller pays cheerfully enough.
Then a sad expression steals over his face, and slowly, reluctantly, he lowers his hand into his pocket, there is a struggle seen going on there, and the hand comes out clutching a nickel. This coin is impressively placed in the centre of the waiter’s hand… On exuberant occasions he parts with a dime…
There is a story that one time when Mr. Rockefeller had laid a shining nickel in the centre of the big, black hand of a negro waiter, the darky, not knowing who his tipper was, had hesitated, looked around, and then whispered softly: “Here — take it back, boss! I ‘spose you need it more than me.”
I’m pleased to discover that my spellcheck is unfamiliar with the word “darky.”
THE PET ECONOMIES OF WELL KNOWN MILLIONAIRES: Peculiar Characteristics of John D. Rockefeller, His Son, Paul Morton, Andrew Carnegie, August Belmont and Others (PDF)
From June 5, 1910