An Applebee's waitress who posted a photo online of a customer's receipt with an obvious lack of tip
was fired Wednesday when the diner complained to her manager.
Chelsea Welch, of St. Louis, uploaded a photo of a receipt Tuesday to Reddit, showing a bill for $34.93 with an automatic gratuity of 18 percent ($6.29) included because the customer was part of a larger 20-person party. The diner scratched out the gratuity, scribbled, "I give God 10%. "Why do you get 18?" and then wrote "Pastor" above the signature, with an emphatic "0" where the additional tip would be.
After the photo went viral, the pastor, identified as Alois Bell, complained to Welch's manager, insisting the incident had "ruined" her reputation, according to Yahoo! News
. Welch claims the table wasn’t actually hers, but a fellow server's, and says she didn’t edit the signature because she thought it was illegible.
"I originally posted the note as a lighthearted joke," she told Consumerist.com. "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."
Bell, a pastor at the Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church in St. Louis, apologized for the sarcastic scribbles Thursday, calling her actions a "lapse in my character and judgment."
"My heart is really broken," Bell told the Smoking Gun, saying she was informed by a friend that she was "all over Yahoo!" "I've brought embarrassment to my church and ministry."
A spokesman for Applebee’s said in a statement to the Smoking Gun that the restaurant had apologized to Bell for violating her "right to privacy" and informed her that Welch was "no longer employed by the franchise."
Welch was surprised that Applebee's fired her.
"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 topic has picked up speed on Twitter, with Applebee's getting much of the flak.
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