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Waitress fired after posting pastor's no tip receipt online

A co-worker of a stiffed waitress posted a pastor's comments left on a receipt at a St. Louis Applebee's. (Source: Reddit) A co-worker of a stiffed waitress posted a pastor's comments left on a receipt at a St. Louis Applebee's. (Source: Reddit)

(RNN) - While some folks abide by the saying, "It's better to give than to receive," a St. Louis pastor did not - and involved a higher power in her reasoning to stiff a waitress.

The photo first posted on Reddit shows a credit card receipt from a St. Louis Applebee's. The pastor, who was a member of a large dining party, scribbles out the denoted 18 percent gratuity on the receipt and writes, "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?"

The guest signed the receipt, not adding any additional tip to the bill. The customer did, however, add "pastor" to their signature.

Many restaurants add an additional gratuity to large dining parties - a policy waitstaff have no control over. The gratuity is an industry standard 18 percent, and is listed in the restaurant's menus to inform guests.

The server showed the receipt to her co-worker Chelsea Welch, who then posted the photo on Reddit under the title "My mistake sir, I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries."

Welch said in an interview with The Consumerist she posted the photo, "as a lighthearted joke."

Welch was fired on Wednesday after the pastor called the restaurant and complained about the photo of her receipt and her signature going viral.

Saying she posted the "insult" as entertainment, Welch said she never disclosed information about the customer, nor described the pastor to dissuade people from searching for the person in question and even changed the initial posting to one not showing the signature at all.

"I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer," said Welch in the interview. "I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone - I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting."

The Smoking Gun, who identified the pastor as 37-year-old Alois Bell, told the website that her message was a "lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion." Bell also claims that after realizing she was already charged the 18 percent gratuity, she left an additional six dollars in cash on the table for the server.

Bell was told by a friend that she was, "all over Yahoo! You went viral!"

The Smoking Gun also states the meal came after a church service at Bell's Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries, a store front church with 15 members.

After realizing her unwanted fame, Bell called the Applebee's and complained about her signature and her privacy being published on the internet. In a subsequent call to restaurant managers, Bell was told the Welch was fired.

"My heart is really broken," Bell said. "I've brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.

Applebee's released a statement that said: "Our Guests' personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee's nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest's right to privacy."

Welch feels she did not represent Applebee's in a negative way and believes she did not break any company guidelines.

"Whether or not she left a tip, the note was still offensive," Welch said. "Insulted or not, I've lost my job over this mess, and that's what I'm concerned with now. The $6 one way or another wouldn't really affect that situation."

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