A Foreign Tourist Tipped Me a Buck for Being American ... What Does that Say About Our Empire?

New Year's Eve often sucks because it rarely lives up to expectations. Sure, the party might be a good one, but don't you just spend the whole night with this nagging suspicion that you're missing a much better celebration right nearby?


I had one of the best NYE ever, simply because I had no expectations of a wild night out.

I mentioned my plan yesterday. Sticking to it, I stuffed my pockets full of treats -- cheese, roast beef and a pig's ear for Daisy and a few of those airline-sized bottles of Maker's Mark for daddy -- and we set out to see the fireworks down by the bay. It was a bit hectic when we hit the streets, so in the end we decided to head for high ground closer to the house where we could watch the show instead, and hiked up to Alamo Square Park.

So we're sitting on the side of this hill overlooking the city. I'm chewing on a pig's ear and Daisy's sipping bourbon -- or maybe it was the reverse, I can't say for sure -- and this Asian man with a toddler comes up to say hello to the puppy. I'm pretty sure he was South Korean.

So I do the usual routine -- drop a treat into the 2 year-old's hand and hold it flat so Daisy can grab it without nipping the little tyke by accident. We do this a few times, the baby giggles, momma gets some video and everyone's happy.

Nothing noteworthy about it until poppa thanked me in halting English and shook my hand. And when I withdrew it, I was a bit surprised to see a crumpled up single in my palm -- the guy'd apparently given me a gratuity for my small part in his family's U.S. vacation.

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