Yesterday, the folks of Reddit revealed a restaurant receipt upon which a pastor reportedly tried to wriggle out of paying the autograt for a party of 20, writing, "I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?" Today, that pastor steps forward: St. Louis pastor Alois Bell tells The Smoking Gun that the note she wrote on her Applebee's receipt was a "lapse in my character and judgment" but also that it was "blown out of proportion." And while she says she's heartbroken over the whole thing — saying, "I've brought embarrassment to my church and ministry" — Bell also reports that Applebee's has now fired the waitress who posted the receipt.
Unsurprisingly, Bell also has a slightly different story to tell than the one reported yesterday by the server who said Bell and her party "asked for separate checks, thinking it would get them out of the autograt, even though the same man paid for everything." According to Bell, she was in a party of 10 who came to Applebee's following a church service. When they divided up the bill, Bell says she left a $6 cash tip and scratched out the autograt before discovering the 18 percent gratuity had already been charged to her credit card.
And as it turns out, the server who posted the receipt was not Bell's server, but another waitress named Chelsea who has now been fired after Bell called to complain. Chelsea tells Consumerist that she posted the photo to Reddit as a joke, but also to demonstrate how this type of thing happens to servers all the time. She explains she didn't expect things to get so out of hand and now, of course, it's cost her a job.
Applebee's sent Consumerist a statement reading, "Our Guests' personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee's nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest's right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee."
That said, Chelsea argues that she checked Applebee's company handbook to ensure she wasn't breaking any company policies before posting the photo to Reddit, adding, "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."
UPDATE 2/1: Applebee's issued another formal response to this issue, resulting in people threatening to boycott. Then it issued yet another formal response.
· Pastor Apologizes For Snide Remark On Meal Receipt [TSG]
· Waitress Who Posted No-Tip Receipt From "Pastor" Customer Fired [Consumerist]
· All Receipts Coverage on Eater [-E-]