Back in April, pro golfer and all round nice guy Bubba Watson left a $148 tip at a Waffle House after winning his second Masters tournament. But his good-spirited generosity pales in comparison to the businessman who left a $1,500 tip at a Raleigh, NC location on Mother’s Day.
According to a News Observer column, the big spender told late-shift waitress Shaina Brown that she had a good spirit, then asked her to give $500 of the $1,500 tip to a “haggard-looking woman” at a nearby table. Brown was unable to comply, however, because Waffle House refunded the cash to the unnamed customer.
It’s company policy to refund large tips in case the charge is disputed later, reports News Observer; magnanimous customers are asked to re-tip via cash or check. While we can understand Waffle House’s need to protect itself (it’s not hard to imagine a drunk customer leaving an overgenerous tip then contesting it later), the policy represents a bum deal for servers, especially in light of the fact that they earn an hourly wage of $3–$4 according to glassdoor.com.
The News Observer columnist claims to have tracked down the altruistic businessman and provided him with Shaina Brown’s contact details so he can write her a personal check. While this story might have a happy ending for one particular employee, Waffle House should probably rethink its blanket policy, or at least remove the quote on its careers page that reads, “We are not in the food business. We are in the people business.”
UPDATE: Grub Street reports that Brown ended up receiving the tip not from Waffle House, but from the customer directly: She told a local radio station that he called her and then wrote her a direct check.
[via News Observer]