A waitress claims she was fired by Applebee’s after posting a note online from a pastor who refused to leave a tip, writing on the credit card receipt instead that “I give God 10% Why do you get 18.”

The 18 percent gratuity–which amounted to a measly $6.29–was automatically added to the bill because the customer was eating with a large party (the bill had been divided up among the diners).

Chelsea Welch, the waitress who says she was fired over the incident, did not serve the table but said she took a picture of the receipt and posted it “as a lighthearted joke.” Welch added, “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.”

One person who did not find it entertaining was the person who left the note, Pastor Alois Bell of the St. Louis-based Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries. The 37-year-old Bell lodged a complaint with the restaurant after the receipt went viral, asking for everyone involved to get fired.

Bell later apologized, telling The Smoking Gun that the incident was a “lapse in my character and judgment.”

“My heart is really broken,” she said. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”


For someone who makes their living off of tips, it seems like the customer’s note was salt in the wound for Chelsea.

“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,” she explains. “After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9/hr on average, before taxes.

In her job, Chelsea says she skipped bathroom breaks when things got busy, went hungry when she had to work several tables at a time, would work until 1:30 a.m. and then come back in at 10:30 a.m.

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— Posted by Tracy Bloom.


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