Part of why I’m so open about this is I think it gives permission for other people to be honest. I grew up in a dysfunctional household on welfare. That compounded a bunch of shit in my life that was not great. We were very focused on money, it was a huge point of pressure and tension in the family. It created massive depression in my father.
There was some point along the way where I was like, “Is money really important, or not important?” I feel very lucky, because I don’t think if you asked my sisters, they got to the same place that I did. I ended up not coveting it, and I found it to be something that I could use to really empower myself to do the things that I wanted to do.
If you really empathize with the people that are working [at restaurants], I see people who are like me. Brown-skinned, working hard, creating these beautiful experiences. I can celebrate it by, I guess, giving a Yelp review. But you can’t buy food for your kids with a fucking Yelp review. I want to tip! It gives me so much joy. You get a four or five hundred dollar bill, and in some cases you tip five hundred bucks, or a thousand bucks. And you close it. And they’re expecting forty dollars.
They will come out to you, and it’s transformational. Little things like that mean a lot to people. To be anonymously generous is a great gift that I have the ability to do.