A pastor who dined at a St. Louis Applebee’s tells server: “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”
Pastor Alois Bell had dined at Applebee’s with a large group. According to the restaurant policy, there is an automatic 18% gratuity added to the bill for parties of eight people and more.
Pastor Bell, apparently, did not want to pay for the 18%. So instead she crossed out the tip amount, writing a zero in it and added “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?”
Chelsea Welch, the waitress who served Pastor Bell and her companions, felt the pastor was extremely rude by leaving that note, so she decided to post an image of the bill. But she forgot to block out the customer’s name on it.
The image has since gone viral. As soon as Pastor Bell found out, she allegedly called the restaurant and asked them to fire Chelsea. She believes that a customer’s right to privacy had been compromised.
Applebee’s did fire Chelsea, but that didn’t stop the woman from going to the local news with her story.
Chelsea told The Consumerist:
“When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light. In fact, I didn’t represent them at all. […] 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.
[…] We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make. After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr on average, before taxes. 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.”
Pastor Bell told The Smoking Gun that her actions were a “momentary lapse of judgment that has been blown out of proportion.”
She feels that she’s brought embarrassment to her church and ministry.
After receiving backlash on Twitter and Facebook for firing Chelsea, Applebee’s released the following statement:
“Please let us assure you that Applebee’s and every one of our franchisees values our hard working team members and the amazing job they do serving our guests. We recognize the extraordinary effort required and the tremendous contribution they make, and appreciate your recognition and support of our colleagues.”
“At the same time, as we know you will agree, the guests who visit Applebee’s— people like you—expect and deserve to be treated with professionalism and care in everything we do. That is a universal standard in the hospitality business. That includes respecting and protecting the privacy of every guest, which is why our franchisees who own and operate Applebee’s have strict policies to protect personal information—even guest’s names.”
“This is a regrettable situation and we wish it had never happened. However, the disregard for an important policy left the franchisee no choice but to take the action they did.”