A gay server was given an unusual reason why she was denied a tip after she waited on a couple and their two children at an Illinois restaurant.
Samantha Heaton, 20, waited on the family at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockford, Illinois, August 5. When the customers paid their $60.55 tab, she noticed they did not indicate a tip when they signed the credit card receipt.
And the reason for the snub was clear, although the inference was not.
“We can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus! Bad tatoo [sic],” the customer wrote on the check.
The tattoo is a rainbow-colored equality sign on her forearm, artwork Heaton said the couple appeared to notice. Religion or her sexuality never came up in conversation though. Had it been broached, she said she would have informed them that she is openly gay and a Christian, two things Heaton said have no bearing on her ability to wait tables at a popular chain of eateries.
In fact, she said the exchange with the family was cordial; she followed protocol per her training when waiting on them, and expected a customary tip. But it would not be the case even though Heaton says she exceeded the scope of her responsibilities.
“For them to leave that (note) kind of hurt,” she said. “Like, I have bills to pay too.”
But it was more than that for Heaton. Aside from taking home nothing from the table, she was unnerved that the couple’s children, who appeared to be younger than 10, were present during a blatant display of intolerance.
“The kids are going to be under the impression that it will be OK to discriminate,” Heaton said.
“As Christian, thou shall judge. No matter how someone looks, you should love them for what’s in their heart and how they treat you—not for what is on the outside. As someone who came out when it was still a battle for the LGBTQ community, that’s just plain rude and uncalled for. What if one day their kids grow up and want to be with the same sex, are they going to disown them? Throw them on the street?”
Buffalo Wild Wings corporate officials have not responded to the incident, but Heaton’s supervisor saw the note and immediately asked the lingering question: “How can they tell that by looking at a tattoo?”
A photo of Heaton’s tattoo and the note has drawn a rash of social media comments. Heaton said she isn’t seeking fame, compensation, or a way to flaunt her sexuality, only an avenue to clarify that not all members of LGBTQ community are non-Christians.
As for the tattoo, she makes no excuse for it, but does have one regret about its placement.
“Someone asked me the other day if I would go back in time and get the same tattoo and I said, ‘No I would get it bigger,'” she joked.
According to the Buffalo Wild Wings Code of Ethics, the chain prides itself in maintaining an anti-discriminatory environment.
[Featured Image by Joelle Nicole Maish]