Hey, They Only Give God 10%, So …

Earlier this week, a 20-year old openly gay waiter at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas was stiffed on a tip because the customers were conservative Christians.  Instead of leaving any money, they decided to write him a note on the back of the check, calling him a fag and “praying” for God’s mercy for him.

“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.  Fags 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 fag choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’s love, but none shall be spared for fags. May GOD have mercy on you.”

First point:  I was a waiter and a busboy, and was friends with many more at the time.  I have to say that every time I found out I had a Sunday morning-afternoon shift my heart would sink, because that’s when the large church groups would come in, eat their fill, and then leave it to God to provide my tip because they sure as hell didn’t.  I’d regularly get 7% tips on tables with groups of 8 or more, complete with an unbroken chain of toddler-meltdowns spanning from about 11AM to a bit past 3.  This was, sadly, before the “18% gratuity automatically added for tables of 6 or more”.  I don’t think it would have made a difference, though, since I’m convinced that even if that were policy back then, it would have been disputed too often to make it worth enforcing.

Anyway, the point is that even outside of the Bible Belt, I know what happens in restaurants when certain church groups come in en masse.  For a conservative Christian couple come in, allow themselves to be served by an openly gay waiter, give money to the restaurant in which he works for the food and drink, and then screw him over at the very end after they get what they want out of the situation has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with using the bible as a convenient excuse to act like an asshole.

I’ve had less than charitable things to say about Kansas in the past, though they have managed to redeem themselves somewhat in recent years through the establishment of more strict (and science-based) textbook requirements for their school districts.  And now, there’s this:

As word has spread through social media, other customers are coming in to offer words of encouragement and tip the young server extra.  […]  The anti-gay message has galvanized support for the server on social media with a campaign underway to flood the restaurant on Friday. Dr. Marvin Baker and his partner had lunch at the restaurant on Thursday and asked to be seated in the server’s section.

Baker served as a pastor for many years and currently leads a Bible study group for LGBT members. He said the couple’s behavior was ungodly.

“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.”

As with yesterday’s post, it gives some hope to see incidents of bigotry and intolerance like these are proving to be the exception to the rule in traditionally conservative parts of the country.  The server (whose name was withheld) has certainly made up for the lost tips at this point, and is now fully aware of the magnitude of support he and others like him has from the local community.

So … thanks, Homophobic Christian Couple!  You brought an entire – largely Christian, I assume – community together to show their support and encouragement to a gay man, giving him hope and assurance that not everyone is as backward and self-righteous as you.  Keep up the good work!

This entry was posted in Freedom from Religion, Profiles in Fundamentalism, Society Marches On and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hey, They Only Give God 10%, So …

  1. This story really moved me, especially since the guy was so humble and said he didn’t want to make a big deal of things and didn’t want people just to give him money-he wanted to focus on his work ethic. I even looked up Carraba’s number because I was going to tip the guy my d*mn self. But after I watched the clip, I realized his community was going to take care of him. Thank god. I only wish they had released the names of the customers so THEY could get a special something next time they dined out….ahem.

    • Naah, no need to make it a witch hunt. The restaurant will take care of the customers if they come in again, and the community will take care of the kid and others like him. Like you said, it really says a lot that neither he nor his mother wanted their names out there for the publicity. It’s nice to see responses to prejudice like this happening in places normally considered to be homes of “conservative values”.

  2. CHope says:

    “The server and his mother declined to answer questions on camera, referring questions to restaurant management. The server said on social media that he wanted his work ethic and service to be what warranted tips, not sympathy.”

    Looks like this young man has far more integrity than what the Christian customers will ever have.

    I agree, Jason, I hated Sundays when I worked retail. When I was in my early 20s and on the worship team at my Church, I absolutely dreaded dealing with customers on Sunday afternoons. Believe me, redneck drunks in the sporting goods department of my store in southwest Georgia were much easier to wait upon on Saturday nights.. I might have been a young Christian adult, but I already knew Christians were demanding, disrespectful. loud and often didn’t watch their kids while out in public. I say if you think clerks and servers are so unworthy of human decency on Sundays then stay in your Churches and homes for the day.

    • One of the best lessons I received at church was from the trip home. Specifically, from the time we all piled into the car in the church parking lot to when we got away from the chaos. All of these supposedly kind, generous, compassionate Christian people who listened politely to the homilies and shook hands with one another in “peace” within the walls of the church suddenly turned into piss-drunk homicidal lunatics who would rather run you down in cold blood than let you merge in front of them.

      People like that treated church the same way a toddler contemplates a stern lecture from a parent. “I’ll sit here, pretend I’m listening, nod my head, and then do the same exact thing I was doing as soon as you’re done and walk away.”

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