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Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From “Pastor” Customer Fired From Job


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Earlier this week, we posted a story about a restaurant customer who not only chose to deny the waitress a tip,

but also wrote “I Give God 10% Why do you Get 18?” on the receipt. Now we’ve learned that the server who

posted the receipt online has been fired.

“I originally posted the note as a lighthearted joke,” says Chelsea, who was dismissed from her job at

Applebee’s onWednesday, as the story began to spread across the Internet. “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.”

Chelsea tells Consumerist that the receipt was actually not even for her table. Rather, the server on the receiving

end of the note showed it to Chelsea, who snapped a photo of it later that night.

As posted originally on Reddit’s Atheist page, the image contained the customer’s fullsignature. Chelsea says

she didn’t think to edit that out because she had assumed the name was illegible.

But the Internet is a remarkably curious place, so sleuths began trying to identify the self-described “pastor” on1/31/13 Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From “Pastor” Customer Fired From Job – The Consumerist

consumerist.com/2013/01/31/waitress-who-posted-no-tip-receipt-from-pastor-customer-fired-from-job/ 2/5

the receipt.

“All throughout the comment thread on the Reddit post, I withheld any identifying information,” Chelsea explains,

adding that she provided an inaccurate physical description of the customer just to throw people off.

She eventually replaced the image with a version that did not contain the signature, but by that point, people were

posting their guesses as to the customer’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 says. “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 ofstarting a witch hunt or hurting anyone

— I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting.”

Her post immediately became popular on Reddit, and then multiple national news sources began picking up

Consumerist’s write-up of the story.

Some time onWednesday, Chelsea says the customer who had left the receipt contacted her Applebee’s

location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.

According to Chelsea, until the receipt story got out there, her time at Applebee’s had been without incident.

“I had been well-liked and respected,” she explains. “My sales were high, my managers had no problems with

me, and I was even hoping to move up to management sometime this year.

“When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light,” she continues. “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.”

For someone who makes their living off of tips, it seems like the customer’s note was salt in the wound for

Chelsea.

“We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change be because I have to pay taxes on

the tips I make,” she explains. “After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr

on average, before taxes.

In her job, Chelsea says she skipped bathroom breaks when things got busy, went hungry when she had to work

several tables at a time, would work until 1:30 a.m. and then come back in at 10:30 a.m.

“I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount

of people,” she tells Consumerist. “I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty, and blistered on a good day. And

after all that, I can be fired for ‘embarrassing’ someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds.”

Chelsea agrees with those who argue in favor of a payment system that doesn’t make restaurant servers reliant

on tips.

“But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered,” she adds. “I posted a

picture to make people laugh— but now I want to make a serious point. Things like this happen to servers all

the time. I’ve had worse tips just in the last month. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a

night out is to skip the tip. But when you don’t tip a good server, that means that server might move on to a

better job. And a worse server might take their place. When you tip a good server well, you are ensuring good

service.”

As for the customer’s claim that they “give God 10%,” Chelsea says she’s “utterly baffled” at why someone

would try to make a connection between tithing to one’s church and tipping at a restaurant.

“I’ve been stiffed on tips before,” she says, “but this is the first time I’ve seen the Big Man has been used as

reasoning.”

“I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity,” she admits. The customer’s bill had

included an automatic tip of 18% because, according to Chelsea, it had been part of a table of 20. “It’s a plainly

stated Applebee’s policy, and it is company policy for parties over eight. I cannot control the auto-gratuity at all;

it’s done by the computer that the orders are put into, and the gratuity is not determined by the bill, but bby the

size of the party.”

Chelsea says that the customer told her manager that their reputation had been ruined by having the receipt

posted on Reddit.

“If this person wrote the note, obviously they wanted it seen by someone,” she points out. “It’s strange to me

that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is now ashamed.”

Even though she’s now without a job, Chelsea claims she has no agenda, nor does she have any interest in

exposing the customer’s identity to the public.

“I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home today unemployed.”

So, for now it’s back to the job market to look for a new gig. Chelsea says she’s been waiting tables to save

money so she could pay for college.

“In the meantime, hopefully I can find a job that pays more than $3.50/hr,” she tells Consumerist, “Or where

people are willing to tip well.”

We are reaching out to Applebee’s for comment and will update if we receive a reply.

UPDATE: The folks at The Smoking Gun have interviewed the pastor who left the receipt.

“My heart is really broken,” she tells the site. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

The pastor claims that though she scratched out the automatic gratuity on the bill, she left a $6 cash tip at the

table. She also alleges that the restaurant charged her the 18% tip anyway.

In response, Chelsea tells Consumerist

“Whether or not she left a tip, the note was still offensive. It wasn’t my table, it wasn’t my tip. I’m

not sure who ended up with what money at the end of the night. But you can’t really argue with

what’s plainly written, and what was written was insulting. Insulted or not, I’ve lost my job over this

mess, and that’s what I’m concerned with now. The six dollars one way or another wouldn’t really

affect that situation.”

UPDATE PART TWO: Applebee’s provided the following statement on the matter —Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s

nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above

all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team

Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the

franchisee.

Edited by Lil Bit Special
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JANUARY 31--The St. Louis pastor responsible for the credit card receipt heard ‘round the Internet termed her snide scribblings a “lapse in my character and judgment,” adding that the Applebee’s employee who posted the receipt online was fired yesterday after she lodged a complaint aloisbell1.jpgwith restaurant managers.

In a TSG interview, Alois Bell said that the online firestorm created by the receipt has left her stunned. “My heart is really broken,” said the 37-year-old Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

The Applebee’s receipt, which was posted earlier this week to Reddit, includes Bell’s handwritten notations referring to an 18 percent tip added to the bill (for groups larger than six). “I give God 10% why do you get 18,” wrote Bell, who scratched out the tip and added a zero in its place. She also wrote the word “Pastor” above her signature.

The January 25 meal came after an evening service at the Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries church, said Bell, who added that five adults and five children were in the group that dined at Applebee’s (a traditional post-service destination for church members). The subsequent bill was divided up amongst the parties.

Bell, seen above, said her notation on the receipt was a “lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion.” Despite scratching out the tip added to the bill, Bell claimed that she left a $6 tip in cash, adding that she subsequently discovered the 18 percent gratuity had been charged to her credit card.

Bell said she learned yesterday that a copy of the receipt was online when a friend called to say she was “all over Yahoo. You went viral!” In response, she called the Applebee’s to complain about the dissemination of her receipt, which includes her easy-to-read signature.

applebeeslogo.jpgIn a follow-up conversation with an Applebee’s manager, Bell said she was told that the waitress was immediately terminated.

According to The Consumerist, the receipt was not uploaded to Reddit by the Applebee’s worker who waited on Bell’s party. Instead, the server showed it to waitress Chelsea Welch, who photographed the receipt and later shared it online. Welch told The Consumerist she was fired yesterday. In a statement, Applebee’s spokesperson Dan Smith reported that, “Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest” for violating the patron’s “right to privacy.” The individual responsible for the leak “is no longer employed by the franchise,” Smith added.

A mother of three, Bell heads a 15-member church that rents a storefront space. Bell said she has a separate full-time job--which she declined to describe--and tithes 10 percent of her earnings to the church.

According to her biography, Bell “gave her life to Christ in 1997 while she was pregnant and homeless with her youngest son.” Living at the time in a Catholic homeless shelter, Bell recalled that she was laying in her bed one afternoon when “the Lord touched her heart and she invited him in.”

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Posted · Report post

That first post did its best to make my eyes bleed.

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That first post did its best to make my eyes bleed.

yeah.. i know... tried to figure out a way to make it not suck. im not good enough to figure it out.

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there we go... that should be better.

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what a bad pastor

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Stfu chelsea

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Stfu chelsea

Agree.

What is this, every time you have a dispute with an employee, the employee or employee's friend posts their version of it all over the internet?

Any customer who comes in the place to eat will worry they're being spied on.

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Agree.

What is this, every time you have a dispute with an employee, the employee or employee's friend posts their version of it all over the internet?

Any customer who comes in the place to eat will worry they're being spied on.

Simple answer. Dont be a dick to people.

If you treat someone like an ass, dont be surprised if there is some blowback from it.

She should never had posted any identifying information online. That was dumb. Just post the stupid comment

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Simple answer. Dont be a dick to people.

If you treat someone like an ass, dont be surprised if there is some blowback from it.

She should never had posted any identifying information online. That was dumb. Just post the stupid comment

The Pastor probably learned this message too. Neither were in the right on this one.

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Worse God-related offense? Thanking Him for victory in a sporting event or using Him as an excuse for being a cheapskate?

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Worse God-related offense? Thanking Him for victory in a sporting event or using Him as an excuse for being a cheapskate?

Both!

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Worse God-related offense? Thanking Him for victory in a sporting event or using Him as an excuse for being a cheapskate?

I wonder if Jesus got paid for his carpentry.

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Simple answer. Dont be a dick to people.

If you treat someone like an ass, dont be surprised if there is some blowback from it.

She should never had posted any identifying information online. That was dumb. Just post the stupid comment

And if this was out in the street or away from the restaurant between the customer and the waitress, I'd agree.

But it isn't out in the street, it's in the restaurant. And if I ran the place and went through all that trouble to make people feel at home when they came, I wouldn't want every incident by my customers to be put on the internet.

Okay, the pastor looks pretty bad on this one, but how about a customer who got ignored for several minutes and gave a smaller than expected tip because of it? Do they have to read what a sheapskate they were on the internet too?

The waitress' friend was asking to get fired.

Edited by kelticwizard
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And if this was out in the street or away from the restaurant between the customer and the waitress, I'd agree.

But it isn't out in the street, it's in the restaurant. And if I ran the place and went through all that trouble to make people feel at home when they came, I wouldn't want every incident by my customers to be put on the internet.

Okay, the pastor looks pretty bad on this one, but how about a customer who got ignored for several minutes and gave a smaller than expected tip because of it? Do they have to read what a sheapskate they were on the internet too?

The waitress' friend was asking to get fired.

If its anonymous? Yes. I have no problem with public shaming.

Where the waitress was wrong was posting a receipt that included some identifying information. That isnt right.

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The Pastor probably learned this message too. Neither were in the right on this one.

Im just pleased the "pastor" paid for the tip on the receipt and the cash tip she alleges she left. humiliation and overtipping? Awesome.

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Where the waitress was wrong was posting a receipt that included some identifying information. That isnt right.

Agreed. If the waitress didn't include the customer's name, there would be nothing wrong in what she did.

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Why does an omnipotent being need 10% of a currency with no actual fundamental value? I understand why the waitress needs it. The pastor deserved to be embarrassed. If you want to be a cheap that's fine, dont tip. No need to be ****y on top of it. They should both just try and get a real job at this point.

Edited by SayNoToDMC
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What's the issue? When it's a big tip it spreads across Facebook and everyone says how great we all are to each other. So no issue with posting the opposite.

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just try and get a real job at this point.

I've been in the service industry for years. I'm about to buy a house, live comfortably, have been all over the world and enjoy my life. All paid for by my fake job.

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Agreed. If the waitress didn't include the customer's name, there would be nothing wrong in what she did.

She wasn't thinking, but I don't think she was being malicious. She was just posting a funny for her friends online. If she was a Jet fan, maybe it would've shown up in this forum. People would've chuckled and moved on. Problem is, stuff can go viral on Reddit pretty quickly.

I don't like seeing people fired for stuff like this, but we see it more and more. You need to be careful what you put online.

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Im just pleased the "pastor" paid for the tip on the receipt and the cash tip she alleges she left. humiliation and overtipping? Awesome.

She also, apparently, demanded the entire staff should be fired. Not very pastor-like.

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The Deacon deserves to be shamed.

The Serving Wench deserves to be let go.

And all is right with the World.

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I'm pretty sure Tim Tebow can make this alright.

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If its anonymous? Yes. I have no problem with public shaming.

Where the waitress was wrong was posting a receipt that included some identifying information. That isnt right.

Bingo. Including that signature is a HUGE problem. That alone is what sealed her fate and ensured she was getting fired. Everything else became irrelevant at that point, there was no way the restaurant was going to keep someone on who did that, considering there is the potential for some legal action to come their way for something like that.

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