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Here’s a tip from a waitress: honesty pays

Pittston Diner waitress Deb Harth returns $260 ‘tip’

Honest waitress Deb Harth

It was either one heck of a tip or one heck or a mistake. Clearing a table where three men from the AmVets Honor Guard had stopped for coffee on the way to a Vet’s funeral on a Saturday, Pittston Diner waitress Deb Harth found three 20 dollar bills on top of two hundreds.

“Obviously,” she said with a laugh, “it wasn’t a tip.”

Harth put the $260 in an envelope and gave it to the diner owner.

Meanwhile, after the funeral, Tony Kotlowski, one of the AmVets Honor Guards, stopped at the Dupont VFW. Reaching in his pocket he found his money clip empty.

On Sunday as he mentally retraced his steps he called the diner, but there must have been a communication breakdown because he was told no money had been found.

Then on Monday Jerry Guarneri – one of the AmVet guards who had been with Kotlowski the previous Saturday – stopped at the diner for breakfast. One of the waitresses said, “We’ve got your friend’s money.”

Guaneri called Kotlowski and he came to the diner to get his money. Harth wasn’t there, but he left a tip for her.

Kotlowski said Harth could have easily slipped the money into her pocket without anyone knowing. He’s impressed by her honesty.

“I don’t know if I would have done what she did. I think I would, but I really don’t know.”

Harth – the mother of four boys, one university pharmacy major, two Pittston Area football players and a PA sixth grader – said she never considered keeping the money, not even for a moment. “They come in a lot,” she said. “They’re Vets. I couldn’t do that to them or anybody. I know if I lost $260 I’d want it returned. He gave me a nice tip, so it pays to be honest.”

When one of her co-workers said Harth set a nice example for her sons, Harth said, “I try to.”

Kotlowski said he got good vibes from the incident. “In today’s world, it’s tough out there. It makes you feel good that’s there’s still honest people.”

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