A waitress says she was fired from her job at Applebee's after posting a note from a pastor who refused to tip, writing that "I give God 10% Why do you get 18."
The waitress, who identified herself only as Chelsea, told The Consumerist that she originally posted the photo on the atheist section of social media website Reddit as a "lighthearted joke."
"I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical," she explained. "I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining."
On the receipt she posted, Applebee's computer system had added an automatic 18 percent gratuity because the dinner party had eight or more people. But the customer scratched out the $6.29 tip and wrote "0." The receipt included a note about giving God 10 percent and a signature which indicated that the diner was a "pastor."
"My mistake sir, I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries," Chelsea wrote on Reddit on Wednesday along with a photo of the receipt.
The waitress said that the she failed to redact the signature because she thought it was illegible, but Internet sleuths began using it to obtain the pastor's identity.
"I had already started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and blogs and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer," she recalled. “I refused to confirm any of them, and all of them were incorrect. I worked with the website moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone — I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting.”
On Wednesday, the pastor reportedly contacted the Applebee's location where she worked and demanded that everyone involved -- including the managers -- be fired.
"When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light," Chelsea explained. “In fact, I didn’t represent them at all. I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook — I checked."
“But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than lose an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.”
She added that she was "utterly baffled" about why someone would connect Christian tithing to tips that wait staff rely on tips to pay their bills.
“I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the Big Man has been used as reasoning," she said. "If this person wrote the note, obviously they wanted it seen by someone... It’s strange to me that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is now ashamed."
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