ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) — A Friday night meal at Applebee’s resulted in more than either the customer or a waitress working that night bargained for after a pastor’s refusal to pay a tip was shared online.
Though the embarrassed patron has apologized for her actions, the old adage of the customer always being right may have some truth to it, as the waitress who posted photo evidence of the tip snub lost her job for doing so.
The trouble began last Friday, when Pastor Alois Bell went to the local chain restaurant with several others following a service at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries.
When the bill came, she did not include a tip on the signed copy of her receipt. She did, however, include the reason why.
“I give God 10 [percent],” the note on the receipt read. “Why do you get 18?”
The waitress, who has been identified only as Chelsea by The Consumerist, posted a picture of the note on the popular user-powered news site Reddit, along with the caption, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”
“I originally posted the note as a lighthearted joke,” she told The Consumerist. “I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical. I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”
Her post instantly got the attention of other users, and eventually the news media. The popular story also got back to its source – Bell – on Wednesday, though she was less amused than others who had seen it before her. She called the Applebee’s where she had eaten to voice her frustration over the sharing of the image, which includes her signature.
Chelsea was fired by managers at the restaurant following the call, despite reportedly being a model employee before this incident.
“I had been well-liked and respected. My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management sometime this year,” she noted, according to The Consumerist. “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.”
She added, “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.”
In an interview with The Smoking Gun, Bell apologized for her actions, which she described as “lapse in [her] character and judgment,” adding that she did leave a $6 cash tip on the table for the waitress who served them that night – who was not Chelsea.
“My heart is really broken,” she was quoted as saying. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”