A waitress was fired after customers gave her a $4,400 (£3,300) tip to split with a colleague because the boss said she had to share the tip among staff and broke protocol.
Ryan Brandt, in her 30s, was working at the Oven and Tap in Bentonville, Arkansas, when a ‘£75 Dinner Club’ showed up and made a generous donation on December 2.
Customer Grant Wise, who owns a property company, set up the dinner with around 40 guests with the intention of everyone donating a £75 tip as a gift to waiting staff who were hit hard during the pandemic.
Mr Wise called the restaurant in advance to ensure tips weren’t shared among all staff in order to make a real difference to just one or two people.
The group picked Ryan – who was tearful when presented with the generous gift – to split with another waitress who served their table.
But shortly after Ryan said the restaurant managers demanded the tip was shared among all of the restaurant staff – something that hadn’t been requested in the three and a half years she worked there.
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She told Fox 59: “I was told that I was going to be giving my cash over to my shift manager and I would be taking home 20 percent.”
Ryan – who had studied Spanish at the University of Arkansas – had planned to pay off her student loan with the money. But the bosses’ orders would have cut her gift to approximately £3,300.
During the evening, Mr Wise, who picked the restaurant because its his wife’s favourite, recorded the big reveal. “I’m so sorry to interrupt everyone’s dinner, this will only take 60 seconds,” he begins in the video.
“We have a table full of absolutely amazing people from all over the country who have traveled here, and tonight we’re hosting a £75 Dinner Club,” he tells Ryan, as he wraps his arm around her.
“Everyone at this table has contributed or tipped £75 for you and for the other waitress who unfortunately had to go home because she’s not feeling well.
“And then we put it out to our social media channels, and then we actually had a bit more money sent in, so we are tipping a total of £3,300 for you to split with the other girl who took care of us.’
He adds that waiting staff suffered during Covid and it was a gesture that a friend of his came up with to help give back, he told 5 News.
Sadly, a few days later Mr Wise discovered Ryan was been fired for ‘violating’ the restaurant’s rules by telling him about the company’s tip policy.
Mr Wise said after he discovered Ryan had been forced to share the tip he returned to the restaurant to get his money back and to hand it over directly to Ryan. However the owner refused to communicate.
Upon hearing Ryan was fired, Mr Wise took to social media in a bid to help her further. He wrote on Facebook : “I’m so saddened to hear that the girl we tipped the other night at our £75 Dinner Club has been fired from her job.
“I don’t fully understand why this would happen to what seems like such a sweet and kind-hearted woman.
“Nonetheless, I’m committed to showing her that there are great people in the world that will do good when they can.”
He then set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for her, where he describes Ryan as a ‘very kind woman’ who was working two jobs during the pandemic to make ends meet. He wrote on the page: “She has incredible aspirations to grow her own business and I can tell has a servants-heart.
“Life can be really tough but I hope we can all band together to make sure this wonderful woman knows there are still really good people out there that will help when they can.”
So far the page has raised £6,580.
Oven and Tap officials told Fox 59 they honoured the group’s request to give the cash to just two staff members. They said: “After dining, this large group of guests requested that their gratuity be given to two particular servers. We fully honoured their request.
“Out of respect for our highly valued team members, we do not discuss the details surrounding the termination of an employee.”