Generosity is not wealth, says the man who tipped $2,000 to a waitress


Speaking to Stomp, the Singaporean man, Mr Atwell Tay, who tipped $2,000 to a Malaysian waitress working at a Katong restaurant, shared his inspirations of his kind deeds.

The account took place last week, penang-born waitress XYW, 37, who declined to be named fearing that she will be fired from her job revealed that she had been struggling to pay childcare fees as a divorcee when Mr Tay totally made her day and moved her to tears with his generosity. Mr Tay, who had been accompanied by his wife and eldest daughter (aged nine) at the restaurant, also encouraged XYW to stay strong and continue to give her best (read more).

“My ex-husband, a Singaporean, left me for a woman from China,” she told Stomp.

XYW does tough jobs such as cleaning houses and washing clothes in the day, while her nights are spent toiling away as a full-time employee at a steamboat restaurant in Katong.

“My take-home salary from the restaurant is $700+ while I can earn $50 for every home I clean (about four hours each time). Sometimes, I have to clean up to 20 houses a month.”

She shared that recently her children’s school fees were overdue and there were not enough finances to support their schooling.

Mr Tay expressed his urge to lend a helping hand. “I felt that it was something that I had to. My family is also in the F&B business, so I know what a tough industry it can be, having helped my father in the kitchen before. It requires a lot of energy and can be very stressful.

“She is also a very hardworking person, and this is a quality that’s hard to find in Singapore nowadays. I appreciate and am impressed by people who work hard instead of stretching their hands out to ask for money,” said the 32-year-old oil trader.

Mr Tay is also known to be a charismatic one of his family by his strongly-held family values. He had expressed that he aspires to be an exemplary role model for his three daughters.

“Being humble is a virtue and I want them to see that.”

His motivational quote was “we have two hands, one is to work hard and the other is to help others.” He learnt it from his mother as a 19-year-old when he was yet to serve his National Service (NS).

Admitting that he went through a rebellious streak during his teenage years, Mr Tay said: “She told me I could do whatever I want, but to always have commitment and consistency, or one would never succeed.”

This is not Mr Tay’s first public exposure on the media. He first made headlines in 2015 for being given a striking Lotus supercar by his mother for his birthday that year.

Mr Tay had been criticised by netizens that his generosity was owing to his background, but Mr Tay refuted that lending a helping hand is not about being well-off.

“Coming from a poor family and becoming rich doesn’t mean you will end up helping everyone. Neither does coming from a rich family and being successful mean you will help other people. It all boils down to the individual,” he shared.

XYW said, “He visits the restaurant about thrice a week, always in a different car.

“However, I am really touched because he always clears his own plates, telling my colleagues that it’s okay and to relax.

“Whenever I serve wealthy people, they are usually very proud. But Mr Tay is humble and always greets us, saying thank you and everything.”

Mr Tay, who is also a venture capitalist, revealed that he is no stranger to people taking advantage of his kindness and generosity.

Nonetheless, he is determined to act as an inspiration for the younger generation.

When presented with a Stomp Goody Bag, Mr Tay expressed his wishes to donate it to his daughter’s school.

“I would like to donate the Goody Bag to someone else because I am not here for the publicity. I’m here because I hope that more people in our generation can work hard.”



  1. You make me think I am losing my mind. The same stories over and over. A woman who say clean 20 homes a month rather than do house cleaning 5 days a week. $700 a month take home if cpf is gross? How many hours a day job? If the employer underpaying her. If she is PR. Is it better to do just housecleaning or get training to be carer. Wah lau. Carer is good pay. Some transition no maid, need instant care for old ppl at home. The filipino workers at the taoist charity (i think Tai Wah Guan) moonlight at $80 per day and more for night. Get her to go for such better value work. Send out feelers antenae with nurses at hospital old folky wards. B class families can and willing to pay.

  2. Mr Tay you will be blessed many folds. Your parents raised you well n you are a great parent to your 3 daughters…..hope the single mother overcomes her hardship soon and be rewarded with her son bright future when he completes his studies.

    Education is the key out of poverty.

    • Well, it’s true that the $2000 was very generous, enough to tide her over her most recent distress over her children’s school fees but could he not stretch it a little further by offering her a job at his family’s f&b business and pay her according to the labor market rate, rather than allowed her to be exploited in her current job…it’s like teaching her how to fish, rather than to just give her the fish…..

  3. It’s inspiring to see how compassionate some people can be. Especially since hearing the insulting comments and heartless reasoning from our Ministers.
    I Wish there were more like him and that more people learn from his example.

  4. If only those earning millions a year know that one hand is to work hard and the other hand is to extend help instead of one hand to increase unnecessary burdens and the other hand is to squeeze dry.

  5. There is an awful truth when an employer finds out if a person is a foreigner. And I know for a fact that our Malaysian friends that work in the hospitality sector are paid tuppence for their efforts.

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