Fat Smitty’s Diner along Highway 101 in Washington state is known for its oversize burgers and the unusual way customers show appreciation. At the end of a particularly satisfying meal, customers write their name on a dollar bill and tack it to the wall.
“I’ve never taken any dollars down,” Carl Schmidt, the owner since 1983, told the Kitsap Sun. “This money never belonged to me.”
The tradition started in 1985, when a salesman left a single dollar and his business card pinned to the wall after a meal. In the ensuing 27 years, thousands of other customers have follow suit with some walls of the restaurant coated in multiple layers of bills.
Now Schmidt is planning on donating the thousands collected to charity.
As the restaurant was being closed for the season, Schmidt with the help of volunteers, including members of the Boy Scouts of America, collected the money. The volunteers peeled $10,316 worth of dollars from the walls and ceiling.
Schmidt, a retired Marine, told the Kitsap Sun he will donate the money to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Camp Parsons Boy Scout Camp to fund a new dining hall.
Multiple troops of Boy Scouts have made a tradition of stopping at Fat Smitty’s diner after a camping trip. One wall was covered not only in bills, but in Boy Scout patches.
Casey Carson, Schmidt’s nephew and the manager of the restaurant, says Fat Smitty’s will open again in March with a slightly different look but the same attitude.
“It is hard to take all this down,” said Carson, who was married at the restaurant in 1994. “It makes it easier to know that the money is going to charity, and hopefully people will put it back up again.”