God doesn’t Need your Gratuity; Give it to your Server

01 Feb, 2013

When I read the first article that came out about this story I was appalled. I was so tempted to write about it on Jesus or Squirrel but eased myself off of my bully pulpit when I saw that my friend at ChristianNightmares tumbled about it.

Here were the basics.

WNhIP9CAfter a church service a group of 20 or more people, including their pastor, went to a local restaurant that had a stated policy of implementing an 18% gratuity on parties of 8 or more. Knowing that most servers make less than minimum wage requirements (um, how exactly is that lawful?) the tips are really the only way servers make money. Especially after giving a percentage to a bartender and the bussers, they take home a lot less than you would imagine. The pressure of having to wait on large tables is definitely worth an extra bonus.

In this particular case the server got a note from the pastor back on the receipt, “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” And yes, it was signed “Pastor so-and-so”

Jesus wept.

The pastor crossed off the required tip amount for their bill – $6.29, and according to her own report left $6.00 in cash on the table. The server, who was offended by the comment showed it to another server in the restaurant who took a picture of it with her phone camera to share on social media – the receipt being both insulting and comical.

Yes, having been a server at three different restaurants this story bugs me. Having had the paid job of a pastor for many years, this offends me as well.

Again, it would have been okay with me to just let ChristianNightmares share this incident, but then came the follow up:

  • The server posted the photo of the receipt to Reddit, a site where people are quick to bring social media justice to stories where the rest of society is too hesitant to do so. Though the server did not give out the name of the restaurant or the name of the pastor, Redditors started doing their own investigative work.
  • The pastor, once identified, became incensed that her honor was being questioned. She called up the restaurant and demanded that people be fired.
  • Jesus wept again.
  • Applebee’s fired the server who posted the receipt.

Are you kidding me, Applebees?

The Pastor claims that her reputation has been ruined by having the receipt posted on Reddit. The truth is her sermon has been weighed and found lacking now that she has a larger audience than just the staff at Applebees. If there was any damage done it was of the pastor’s own doing.

In a follow up interview the pastor says she has brought embarrassment to her church and ministry. Again, I don’t think she gets it. Once she was called out, as any of us can be for making a mistake that hurts others, she should have been more concerned about reconciliation and possible restitution than her own precious reputation and sacred ministry. Um, what happened to caring about other people?

If she really cares about her reputation as a Christian (meaning ‘Christ-like’) she should be calling the restaurant demanding  that the server who was fired should be reinstated without any further punishment. She should take responsibility for the incident, not make religious excuses. She can then schedule another get-together for her church at the Applebees so that all the people involved could shake hands, hug, make Jesus laugh, take a group photo to post on Reddit, and laugh again when the new bills are handed out with the automatic 18% gratuity.

Anything less than that IS embarrassing.



Pinging is currently not allowed2 Responses

  1. wordhaver says:

    Oh. Dear. Lord.

    Have mercies.

    May the server involved find herself soon in a much better place. Soon. And the next time we're served in a restaurant may we all tip generously, grace-fully, over the top, "pressed down, good measure, flowing over, shall it be poured into your lap," in her honor.

    May the pastor learn better through this. Or through whatever it takes.

    Thanks for posting, Chad. What a wonderful reminder to tip and give in general with scandalous grace…

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