‘Receipt heard round the internet’ sparks debate, waitress’ firing

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ST. LOUIS – A waitress says she was fired after posting a receipt online on which a pastor had written a message indicating she wouldn’t leave a tip.

On the receipt posted on Reddit, the customer has crossed out the tip line and written, “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?”

That receipt went viral not long after it was posted on Reddit. According to the Consumerist, the Applebee’s waitress involved was fired from her job. She told the website that the table wasn’t actually hers. Instead, she said the receipt belonged to another waitress who actually served the table, adding that she thought it was amusing and snapped a picture. The waitress identified herself only as Chelsea.

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

The restaurant had automatically calculated an 18-percent gratuity because the pastor was with a party of eight or more people. After the receipt was posted online, the pastor—later identified as Alois Bell—called the restaurant and complained that her reputation had been ruined after internet users tracked down her identity.

Bell later told The Smoking Gun that she “brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.” She admitted she crossed out the tip on the receipt, but said she left a cash tip. She also said the restaurant charged the tip to her card regardless and called her handwritten message a lapse in judgment.

Applebee’s released a statement saying that the waitress had been fired because guests and their checks are private information that shouldn’t be shared publicly.

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