A Lesson for Those Who Serve

18%Church people are notoriously bad tippers.  This is certainly not news to me, and I consider myself something of an expert.  I worked at Shoney’s while in high school, Chick-fil-A during college, and am today an ordained minister.  With much apology I realize the above statement is true.  The worst case I ever heard of was a church group going out on a Sunday afternoon following their morning service.  After being served by the cook and wait staff, they informed the waitress they would not be leaving a tip because they believed it was wrong to work on Sunday.  Let me repeat: AFTER they ate the food the cooks worked to prepare and the waitress worked to serve, they told her it was wrong to work on Sunday.  That’s the opposite of sharing the Gospel.  If those are really your convictions what you should do is NOT eat out or shop on Sundays.

Yahoo News recently carried this story of a waitress fired from Applebee’s for posting a receipt online.  Clicking on the image above will open it full size.  Here’s what happened: A party of eight or more is charged an automatic gratuity of 18%. Large parties typically create problems and are more difficult to serve than smaller parties, and usually leave smaller tips.  Church pastor Alois Bell wrote on the receipt “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” and struck through the amount.  She paid for the amount of the meal and left no tip whatsoever.  The waitress, Chelsea Welch, found the remarks insulting but also humorous and posted an image of the receipt online.  After it went viral, Pastor Bell complained to the Applebee’s manager and the waitress was fired.

It was bad enough to not leave a tip.  There’s a lot of misunderstanding about how servers are paid.  While it is true that they do not make minimum wage, if their salary plus tips do not average minimum wage for the pay period the restaurant makes up the difference.  Still; not leaving a tip was bad enough, after the complaint to the manager the waitress was fired.  In a recessed economy with 8.5% unemployment, Welch now has no job at all.  Pastor Bell complained the note was written during a lapse of judgement and she was embarrassed by the incident; so she complained and got the waitress she refused to tip fired.  She should be embarrassed.  Does anyone else thing Pastor Bell needs to be fired?

This story cold have a happy ending.  The Christian thing to do would be for Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church to offer Chelsea Welch a job.  If working for the church would not be appropriate, the church and/or Pastor Bell could reach out to her and offer assistance with housing, groceries, child care, etc.  If these two individuals got together, had a real conversation, offered forgiveness and forged a relationship it would be great.  What’s more likely is that Welch will go on unemployment and Bell will just try to forget the whole thing.  In the worst case scenario everybody sues each other.   But wouldn’t it be nice if they did the other thing?

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