Last week, Rachel posted about Garrett Wayman, a 17-year-old waiter in Kansas, who was thrilled to find a $20 tip at one of his table… only to discover that it was fake. Instead of cash, he got a message telling him to accept Jesus.
Penny Craver, the general manager of a North Carolina restaurant called Dish, has seen the same thing happening to some of her teenage staffers. One of them had received multiple pamphlets, all from the same church. That’s why she decided to do something about it. Craver looked up the church whose URL was included on the pamphlets — Harbor Baptist Church in Charlotte — and sent Pastor Ken Simmons this message:
I am the general manager of Dish (restaurant) in Plaza Midwood. Imagine one of my server’s surprise when she received a small pamphlet (Every one of us will face eternity one day) instead of a tip when she served what I assume was one of your congregation.
Her particular religious beliefs are not discussed at work; however, I do know that this pamphlet can not pay her mortgage or her electric bill. It concerns me that someone would consider a pamphlet fair monetary exchange.
Suppose your congregation felt it was sufficient to tithe their personal writings instead of 10% of their income. Your church wouldn’t be paying their bills for very long.
I think it would be great if you used this in a sermon. Pride, one of the 7 Deadly Sins, is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the source of the others. It is identified as believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God).
I think it could be educational for at least one member of your congregation. Thank you very much for your time.
Simmons eventually responded to her note:
Pastor Simmons says that he’s spoken to the congregant who left the pamphlet at Dish, who stated he left a tip on the credit card receipt. In response, Pastor Simmons said, “If it turns out we did not pay that tip, we’re going to take care of them, because we always leave a 20-percent tip. We’ll make sure it gets taken care of.”
After hearing from a man claiming to be the congregant who left the pamphlet called to say he left a tip, Dish investigated and told NBC Charlotte that there was a $2 tip left on a bill of $25.96 — a 7.7-percent tip.
Maybe the next sermon needs to be more explicit…?
I asked Simmons about this and he made clear to me that this is (still) unacceptable behavior, that the low-tipping congregation member will make up for his mistake. He also added that his church doesn’t condone these tracts (which makes you wonder why its name appears on them):
I have shared with the congregation I pastor that a 20 percent tip is fair compensation for the hard work that servers provide… To reiterate, we have never used tracts that looked like money; we feel that that is offensive and cruel and would never fool a server with fake money. The gospel is real and does not need trickery to be communicated.
***Update (1/25/16)***: The news site that initially reported this story issued a correction that I’m passing along here:
An earlier version of this story was accompanied by a photo of a pamphlet that looked like a $20 bill. The pamphlet left behind in this case DID NOT look like money. And the customer left a small monetary tip with the pamphlet.