Serial tipper changes lives in Nashville

Lexy Burke began dreaming up a way to help servers sidelined by the pandemic.
Lexy Burke began dreaming up a way to help servers sidelined by the pandemic.(WSMV)
Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A local Tennessean started a movement that is all about going above and beyond for waitstaff.

It’s one thing to be known as a good tipper. It’s something else entirely to consistently give waitstaff $1,000 tips on $40 meals.

Lexy Burke, known around social media as the #SerialTipper, began dreaming up a way to help servers sidelined by the pandemic. In early 2020, when Nashville was shut down, she came up with a plan.

“I was on TikTok and I saw people raising money on their Venmo for random things – one guy was raising money for a car, another girl was raising money for plastic surgery,” says Burke. “I was surprised no one had paid it forward. And I was like, ‘eventually that’ll happen.’”

But it never did.

In May 2020, just as Nashville began to slowly reopen restaurants to patrons, Burke and her husband wanted to spend a night out to celebrate her birthday. She decided to ask her social media followers to help her raise money for a special tip.

“I asked my followers on Tik Tok if they could send me $1.50 or any spare change,” says Burke. “We raised about $3,000 the first time, so we went to three restaurants that first weekend.”

Lexy’s first giveaway was to a server at Double Dogs on Charlotte Pike in Nahsville.

“That one I was so nervous for, so shocked. He was just as shocked,” says Burke.

She intended the massive tips to be a one-weekend event, but people kept sending her money on Venmo. She worked non-stop to keep up with the influx, giving a major tip every weekend. She always stayed transparent with her followers about where their donation went.

“I think in such a dark time, people need to see something good,” says Burke.

Lexy has raised about $300,000 in less than 2 years with this effort.

“We’ve had a couple situations where people have fallen in love with the recipient and wanted to do more,” says Burke. “[For example] we gave away an apartment for a year.”

Burke and her followers raised about $30,000 for a teen athlete who lost his mother and who is supporting his younger sister by working at a Nashville restaurant.

Dove Nourishing Body Care took notice of Burke’s work. They partnered with Burke to give a tip to a deserving person. She has also been featured on NBC Nightly News for leaving massive tips for 130 servers by March 2021.

Burke, a former worker at a Broadway bar, recalls the night she received a $1,000 tip and says it was a point of inspiration for this effort.

“That meant a lot to me and just something I always wanted to do in my life,” says Burke. “Once the pandemic hit, we were like ‘life’s short,’ you gotta do what you love. I’m just forever grateful for this experience no matter where it takes me. At the end of the day, if you’re helping one person, that’s all that matters.”

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