Samantha Heaton only wanted to raise awareness about discrimination in the LGBTQ community when she made a Facebook post about being denied a tip in the restaurant where he works because she displayed an equality tattoo.
Heaton is the server at Buffalo Wings in Rockford, Illinois, who made headlines last month when she received the note “Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus! Bad tatoo [sic]” instead of gratuity on a $60.55 bill. That was it. A zero was even written in the space left for gratuity.
Since the August 5 incident, Heaton has raised considerable awareness in terms of exposure. Thousands of social media users followed her story. And while she anticipated some buzz about her intentions, she preempted it by stating she was not seeking financial compensation. That didn’t stop supporters from around the world from sending her cash to make up for the tip for which she was rudely stiffed.
So far, she’s received around $250. It’s paltry although relative. However, the amount is not the latest noteworthy part of the ordeal — it’s what she is doing with the cash that Heaton says makes the whole experience worth it. The money is going to charity.
So far, she’s given to an organization that fights childhood cancer, and she plans to help another nonprofit that helps clothe the homeless in her city.
“I have $100 that I still want to donate, and that will be to a charity called Just Breathe 815,” she said.
As of this report, she’s received 18 letters in the mail. Most have contained cash. Others are notes of encouragement that echo the hundreds of social media messages she manages every day. And the droves of B-Dubs customers who continue to request her as their server have been a welcomed boon.
The 20-year-old, who is openly gay, said her sexuality or spiritual beliefs did not come up in conversation while she served the couple and their three children back in August. She would have discussed both, including her belief in Jesus. That didn’t happen though. After leaving the note, the customers slipped out, and Heaton hasn’t seen them since.
What happened to Heaton is not the first time a Buffalo Wild Wings server has received a homophobic note instead of a tip. It’s occurred in other cities, but this was the first time for the Rockford location. Although the identity of the customers has not been revealed, the incident occurred the same day the Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses was held in Rockford.
However, who left the note doesn’t matter to Heaton. She made an impact in the lives of others with an amount 20 times greater than a $12 tip, has more than enough customers who do tip and raised the awareness she hoped for.
“It was awesome to be able to do something so amazing out of a not-so-good situation.”
Heaton keeps the stack of letters on her dresser.
[Featured Image by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]