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Cape man puts twist on tips for servers

By Staff | Jun 26, 2015

If John Brozana had a dollar for every time he made dollar bills into works of art the best he would do is break even.

For most of his life, Brozana has made U.S. currency into origami, the art of paper folding into interesting shapes from hearts to flowers to virtually any article of clothing.

Brozana said he doesn’t know exactly how much money he has given away through origami, but its well into the thousands, and he’s very generous in the way he doles out the cash in this manner.

Brozana started doing origami in junior high school when a Philippino family moved near his house. A member of the family taught him to make a ring out of a dollar.

“When I got older, I remembered how to make it and I started making it as part of the tip,” Brozana said.

Brozana, a U.S. Army veteran and former public works director in Linden, N.J., retired to Cape Coral in 1997 and began handing out tips at The Cafe, which are now on display at the front of the house.

Jill Bello, who works at The Cafe said Brozana has been coming to the restaurant for years, making his origami that can also be used to buy breakfast.

“He comes here quite frequently and is real kind to the patrons and staff and makes stuff for them and the children,” Bello said. “People love his work and he brings fresh bills make his work and gives them as tips.”

Having done origami for so long, it doesn’t take long for him to make even the most intricate shape.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time. I got lessons from other people and read books on it,” Brozana said.

It starts with a new, crisp dollar bill, of which Brozana specially orders, he then creases and folds the bill into one of many shapes. There is no cutting involved, and because he is so adept, he can make them in minutes almost anywhere.

“It’s easier with money than on blank paper. You always know where to make the folds because of the markings,” Brozana said.

Among the many shapes he makes is a flower, which requires four bills, a four-leaf clover, boots, pants, shirt, belt, among many others.

And he’ll do his work on something other than a dollar bill. He also has two dollar bills in hand, and one time, years ago, he gave his wife an origami ring made with a $100 bill.

“That didn’t work out too well. She ended up going shopping with it,” Brozana laughed, describing one of the occupational hazards of cash origami.