This is actually 2 stories, that both happenned on the same night and both involved the same US Quarter. I'm pretty sure this happenned in the fall of 2005 but I'm not positive. I know it was a chilly and rainy night.
I had a delivery to a public housing facility. I had no expectations of getting a tip. The order was for 2 medium pizzas (with coupon) for $14.98. Add in the $1.25 delivery charge and the total was $16.23.
I arrive at the building, get buzzed in, ride up the slower-than-molasses elevator, and knock on the door with their food. The custmer answers the door with $16. I quote the price and the customer yells back into their apartment, "Hey do you have a quarter?"
What I hear in response makes me cringe. "I think there's one on the bathroom floor."
The customer disappears around the corner, and reappears with a 25-cent piece, saying "Yeah there was." I pocket the money, trying not to touch the coin, give them their food, and proceed with my night.
Sometime around midnight I get a delivery to the far end of our delivery zone. This time the total is something like $20.74. Could have been 2 large pizzas and an extra cup of garlic sauce, I'm not exactly sure.
What I do know is that as I was standing at the door in the cold rain, a man in his early 20's handed me a $20 bill and then, like the customer before, called back into the house, "Mom, do you have a dollar?"
There was no immediate answer, but the guy didn't move to go find his mother, instead he just stood there and yelled out a few more times.
Meanwhile I am getting wetter and wetter. I realize I am not getting a tip from this guy, and I owe him back a quarter. Hmmmm . . . . .
I reach into my pocket and there it is, the quarter from the bathroom floor. I pull it out and get it ready to give this guy. Finally he goes into another room and returns with his dollar. I hand him the food and hold out the quarter.
"Keep it," he says.
"No, I really couldn't," I reply.
He still doesn't hold out his hand, so I flip the coin into the air, like the referee at the start of a football game. It lands with a jingle near his feat as I turn and head for my car.
"Hey you don't have to throw it at me," he calls out after me.
As soon as I got moving I got out my cell phone and call back to the store to warn our manager. "Ward, if a customer calls and says that I threw a quarter at him, here's what really happenned . . ." and I describe the events that just transpired.
Sure enough, before Ward hung up with me, I heard someone in the background say, "Ward, manager call, line 2"
Ward handled it well, and was very supportive. He asked the guy if it was his money, and when the guy said he should come up and beat the driver (me) up, Ward asked if he was making a threat, as Ward would be happy to call the police if he was. That pretty much ended the discussion.
And that ends the story of the journey of the quarter. From bathroom floor, to my pocket, back to non-tipping customer.