Here's an idea that probably deserves some study. Tips are taxable income, but cash gifts are not (unless the gift is over $13,000 in one year). Does this money add to the waiter's taxable income? Does it contribute to her total for the week in making up the difference between her pay from the restaurant and minimum wage? Does it go into the pot to share with the cooks and bussers? Don't bother asking the IRS.
An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spokesperson conceded that he'd never heard of such a situation and declined to speculate about possible legal implications. He directed ATTN: to the agency's "Tips on Tips" guide, which emphasizes that "income received in the form of tips is taxable."
Since this image has gone viral, we might expect a statement from the agency sometime soon.