By Jack Peat
The restaurant says she “violated its policy”
A waitress who refused to split a four-figure tip with her co-workers was told not to return to work by a disgruntled shift manager.
Ryan Brandt served a table of more than 40 business execs in Oven & Tap, Arkansas, when one of them called her over to present her with a juicy tip.
A clip uploaded to Instagram shows the evening’s host, Grant Wise, handing a wad of cash to the waitress, saying: “Everybody at this table has contributed or tipped $100 (€91) for you, and for the other waitress who unfortunately had to go home because she wasn’t feeling well.
“And then we put it out to our social media channels and we actually had quite a bit more money sent in. So we are tipping you a total of $4,400 (around €4,000) for you to split with the other girl that took care of us.”
He ended his speech by addressing the rest of the restaurant, telling diners: “Tip your waitresses everyone!” as the room erupted with whoops and cheers.
View this post on Instagram
Brandt was moved to tears by the gesture, embracing Wise and thanking him repeatedly in the video.
However, it later emerged that her fairytale was to suffer an unwelcome plot twist.
In an interview with local news outlet KNWA News following the event, she said: “I was told that I was going to be giving my cash over to my shift manager, and I would be taking home 20 per cent.”
Brandt pointed out that she’d been working at the restaurant for three and a half years and had never been asked to split tips with colleagues before.
Wise then learned the fate of his group’s offering and, unhappy that it was set to be divvied up rather than shared between their two servers, asked for it back, according to Distractify.
He then handed the cash straight back to Brandt outside the restaurant.
But when she went back inside, she was fired.
“It was devastating,” she told KNWA, stressing that she needed the job to help pay her bills.
“I borrowed a significant amount for student loans. Most of them were turned off because of the pandemic, but they’re turning back on in January and that’s a harsh reality,” she said.
Brandt added that the restaurant’s reason for firing her was that she “violated its policy” by telling Wise about the plan to share the tip out among the whole team.
Oven & Tap responded to the outcry surrounding her treatment in a statement to the Arkansas news outlet.
It read: “After dining, this large group of guests requested that their gratuity be given to two particular servers. We fully honored their request. Out of respect for our highly valued team members, we do not discuss the details surrounding the termination of an employee.”
A GoFundMe page has since been set up that has raised over £7,000 (€7,948) for Brandt in less than five days.
The fund has since gone on to receive a total of $18,367 (€16,713).
This article originally appeared on Joe.co.uk.