Customers at a Carrabba’s restaurant in Kansas this week said they received excellent service from their waiter — but they refused to tip him because he’s gay. And the hateful note they left him stings even worse than being stiffed:
After the 20-year-old waiter served a couple earlier this week in Overland Park, the hostess, who is also the young man’s mother, found a disturbing note on the back of the check.
“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. [Gay slur] do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours,” the customer wrote. “We hope you will see the tip your [gay slur] choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’s love, but none shall be spared for [gay slur]. May GOD have mercy on you.”
This is Kansas we’re talking about (albeit somewhat-metropolitan Kansas), so I’m not entirely surprised, but come on. What justifies that kind of behavior? Not Christianity. Not any belief system.
The waiter and his mother aren’t answering questions on camera and are instead deferring to Carrabba’s for official statements. The restaurant says it does not condone any kind of discrimination from restaurant staff or customers, but it’s unclear whether they can or will pursue any action against the couple.
This unfortunately isn’t the first instance of homophobic interactions between restaurant customers and/or staff; in one story from earlier this year, it was a restaurant owner who handed a bigoted note to a same-sex couple, and in another, a same-sex couple was verbally harassed by fellow customers outside a food truck.
There is one silver lining, though. As is often the case with such incidents, the story is going viral on social media and the waiter has received an outpouring of support. People from the area are going out of their way to visit the restaurant, sit in the waiter’s section, and tip him extra, according to news reports. One such customer is Dr. Marvin Baker, a gay former pastor who visited the restaurant with his partner to wish the waiter well.
“I was angry. I said, this is not Christian as I know it,” Baker said.
Coincidentally enough, the hostess who led them to their seats was the server’s proud mother.
“I said, ‘We are here to meet your celebrity. The one who was mistreated.’ She said, ‘That’s my son. Would you like a table or booth?’ I said, ‘Wherever he’s serving,’” Baker explained.
Though he’s no longer a pastor, Baker still leads a Bible study group and reportedly called the anonymous couple’s behavior “ungodly.” (That’s a given.)
“This does not represent Christianity. I called them Pharisees,” he said. “God really loves us. And God does not advertise or promote hate. That is not love.”
Baker said the server indicated to him that he appreciated the support. They agreed that gays experience too much rejection and hurt, and that “it is nice to know that someone cares.”
It’s certainly up for debate whether or not this “represents Christianity,” as Christianity seems to be at the root of so many hateful interactions between LGBT individuals and strangers who feel entitled to publicly harass and humiliate them. What’s crystal clear is that this server didn’t deserve to be treated so horrifically — nobody does — and his community is doing an impressive job of standing up for him.