The Time Don Draper Gave Me $5 and I Was Pissed As Hell

“Jon Hamm is coming in!!” my gay as the tooth fairy boss exclaimed. He scurried around the fancy Beverly Hills based lounge wiping away fairy dust off the couches and cabana tables.

“I’m sure he is. Just like when Prince was supposed to roll through on a Monday night and instead Rick Solomon the ‘great’ graced us with his sweat pant presence” I retorted.

I had almost made Rick Solomon of the ‘One Night In Paris’ fame cry a few nights before. It was a sweet moment.

Prince would make a surprise appearance a few nights later with two stunning models draped on his shoulders. Always thought he was light in the loafers until he started making out with them at our joint. But anyway, back to this story…

The joint was swanky, in fact it was the hardest spot to get into in Hollywood and Beverly Hills combined at the time and I was privileged to run the door and the list.

I was a jerk. Not going to lie.

I ran that door stiffer than St. Peter probably runs the Pearly Gates upstairs.

Once I turned away a 10/10 Playmate, even though she was sweeter than a candy cane, just because I could. It was that kind of joint.

“Oh no, he will DEFINITELY be coming in” and with a flourish of his hand, poof, he disappeared God knows where. Probably for an early jerk behind a plotted plant before the great Jon Hamm aka Don Draper of Mad Men was supposed to arrive.

I scoffed again, then started pinging girls through text. Hey, what else do you think list guys and girls are doing when we’re staring at our phones?

“Excuse me?”

I heard the voice, but I didn’t look up. Another trick of door peeps. We ALWAYS hear you, but we’re supposed to look concerned with our phones or lists, or hell, anything BUT you.

“Excuse ME?!”

Oops. That’s a bitch voice and that tone could only mean one thing. It was coming from a celebrity handler.

A celebrity handler can range from a publicist to an agent, to, well, you get the idea.

I stared at my phone for one extra long three count, then slowly lifted my head and looked at her for a moment. “Yes?”

“Jon Hamm is on his way!” she shot back at me.

“Okayyyy…?” I almost added “Would you like a sticker?”, but held back.

“I’m his publicist and want to make sure everything is set”.

I almost said “Who?” as I often did with B-list stars or reality TV ‘stars’ and the reactions were always priceless, but instead I slipped into polite mode.

“Ah of course, such and such mentioned he was coming. I have an excellent table ready for him, comped of course”.

Yea, celebrities get free stuff. Crazy right? It actually makes sense from a business perspective though, because People magazine will write about how Jon Hamm was at our joint and then millions of people will want to go there, so it’s a form of ‘free’ advertising with celebrity endorsements.

She continued to ramble and my mind wandered for a bit, until Don Draper himself walked through the door.

“Hello sir, how are you?” he said and I was taken back for a moment. Many celebrities are dicks. And then some are pretty damn cool, like David Beckham, but generally the celebrity will just let their handler speak for them.

“I’m excellent Mr. Hamm, good to see you” I said as I returned his handshake making sure I squeezed his hand firmly. I could perhaps be offered a job at Sterling Cooper of course. Had to throw in a Mad Men joke here folks.

“This is for you”, he said as he shook my hand firmly and looked me dead in the eye.

The feeling of cold hard cash crisply folded pressed against the palm of my hand and he didn’t have to say anything else. Every doorman, VIP Host and list guy and girl around the world knows exactly what it means.

It’s a tip.

Courtesy says you always smoothly put it in your pocket first with a seamless motion. You do NOT under any circumstances hold it up to the light and unfold it like a ten-year old boy getting his first twenty-dollar bill.

So seamlessly it went in my pocket and seamlessly did I usher him and his entourage to his comped table after telling him “Thank you sir”.

I ducked into the bathroom on the way back to the main door and pulled out the folded bill expecting AT LEAST a $50 bill.

It was a FIVE dollar bill.


Yes, the one with Abraham Lincoln on it.

I was shocked. What in the living fuck was this all about? I thought.

I reached back into my pocket thinking maybe I grabbed the wrong bill, but behold that pocket was empty. He really did just tip me only five dollars for a comped cabana.

I looked into the mirror for a moment, yea just like people do in movies before walking out of the bathroom and raising hell, then bounced from the bathroom.

About that time my fairy boss came waltzing down the hallway as I was exiting the bathroom. Waltzing or prancing, it was one or the other, but you get the idea. The motherfucker was floating.

“Um so and so, you’re not going to believe this…”

“WHAT?” he snapped like a mental chick on her period.

“Jon Hamm just tipped me only five bucks. What the fuck?”

He started berating me telling me to be thankful. He knew how much cash I was bringing in per night and it was to the point where HE was almost getting pissed off, because it was coming close to reaching his level of salary.

I told him to fuck off and went back to the main door.

I’m not going to lie. In the most non “I’m offended!” politically correct way of people being offended nowadays, I was actually offended.

I stewed about it.

I complained about it through text to some chicks and some of my buddies.

I was wrong.

The point of this post is a reminder that as we are dead center in the middle of the holiday season, to be thankful for what people give you, no matter what it is.

You never know where people are in their lives financially.

You never know how bad they might actually have it.

Like my Mom always said (and I shamefully remembered it when I was stewing about the five bucks), “If someone gives you a pine cone as a present, say “thank you” and mean it”.

She was right.

Maybe Jon Hamm is a tightwad and maybe I was too entitled, but whatever it was, I shouldn’t have copped an attitude.

Being unthankful is never a good way to be.

So I forgave him. I watched Mad Men. It was damn good.

Happy Holidays gentlemen.

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