A local seafood restaurant has fought back after enduring a wave of criticism following revelations it had refused to pass on a $US2000 ($A2845) tip to one of its wait staff.
US eatery Red Hook Seafood and Bar in the Texas city of San Antonio found itself the centre of a media storm when local news outlet FREDS5 reported that waitress Emily Bauer was told she wouldn’t receive the generous tip.
Bauer told the outlet the tip was given by a man who dined at the restaurant during a very busy Sunday sitting.
“I kept apologising. ‘I’m sorry. I’m being slow.’ He was just like, ‘I understand.’ He also mentioned he owned restaurants,” Bauer told the outlet.
“So he knew how hard it was to be a server. He actually didn’t want the rest of his order. He was like, ‘just cancel everything. Cancel everything and give me the ticket [bill].’ So, I said OK. I gave him the ticket.”
It was after she retrieved the bill and went to process the payment that Bauer – who has only been working at the venue for a fortnight and has two young children – realised the extent of the diner’s generosity.
He had tipped her $US2000 with a note saying: “Merry Christmas! Keep working hard!”
“I just opened it and started crying. I was like, ‘oh my God! My kids! I’m going to spend it all on my kids,’” Bauer said.
“I’ve never had a Christmas where I’ve been able to like splurge on them.”
But Bauer wasn’t able to process the tip part of the payment.
Bauer said management at the restaurant told her they could not process tips of greater than $500, and that they had refused to run it through as four individual payments instead.
Although the story was broken by San Antonio outlet KENS5, it has since been widely covered, finally prompting a response from Red Hook Seafood and Bar.
On its Facebook page the eatery claimed that it was credit card company Visa that would not allow the payment to be processed.
“The Gentleman called after he left that evening asking if Emily would be able to receive her tip he was told by management that the tip would NOT process and if he could come by & pay her in cash or a check written out to her he said OK then hung up quickly,” the restaurant’s post claimed.
“He has not been by to the restaurant to pay her.”
It begged the public not to call or harass staff at the eatery, and not to leave bad reviews as it was not the fault of management that the payment could not be processed.
Red Hook Seafood management also posted a response to the story on the KENS5 Facebook page, accusing the broadcaster and Bauer of not telling the “entire” story.
But Bauer responded to the restaurant’s post, saying she had been told to reach out to media, to find the tipper, and had told KENS5 the whole story.
She said management had refused to talk to the reporter.
“I did exactly what you told me to do because it is my right to try like you said, I am not leaving nothing out and everything I have said is 100% THE TRUTH,” Bauer wrote.
In its most recent post to its own Facebook page, Red Hook Seafood and Bar management has shared an update from Bauer saying the eatery’s owner will now pay her the tip. However that update is a screenshot only.