If meal is free, what do you do about a tip?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Today, at a local restaurant, a couple at another table paid for our lunch (my sister and me).

We did not find this out until after they had left and we were preparing to pay our bill, so I didn’t get to thank them.

My question is: Should I have left a tip for our server?

GENTLE READER: That your unnamed benefactors may have already left a tip is less important than that they may not have.

Think of it this way: If you both leave tips for the same meal, the server, like yourself, will have come into a welcome and unexpected bonus. If neither of you tips, the server will have been shortchanged while you go home whistling.

Miss Manners prefers the former.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a date with a guy I met three years ago. We have communicated on and off, and now he is coming to town and has asked me out.

The date is on his birthday, and I don’t know if I should do something for him!

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