Red Lobster waitress gets $10K tip after racist comment
3:09 PM, Oct 10, 2013
A Red Lobster waitress, who said a customer left her a receipt with a racist slur, has received the tip of a lifetime, thanks to a fundraising from online supporters.
Toni Christina Jenkins of Franklin, Tenn., said she was shocked when she saw a receipt on the table with “none” on the “Tip” line and the N-word on the “Total” line.
“I was just stunned that it happened,” Jenkins, 19, said. “It’s not something that you think in our generation would actually take place, so I was just blown away by it.”
After posting a picture of the receipt to Facebook Sept. 10, her story sparked outrage online, prompting a California man to take action. Matthew Hanson, founder of AddictingInfo.org, heard Jenkins’ story and started an online fundraiser called “Tips for Toni” that collected $10,749 in place of Jenkins’ non-tip on the bill for $44.53.
“It was about sending a message to racists that Americans aren’t going to tolerate that,” Hanson said. “We raised $10,000 within seventy-two hours. It was really amazing.”
Hanson presented the check Sept 30 to Jenkins, who was unaware of the fundraiser.
“I literally screamed. I was so confused,” Jenkins said. “I was just so thankful. I felt so blessed and so honored that so many people came together on my behalf to give this to me.”
Citing a company policy that prohibits employees from posting a guest receipt online, Red Lobster suspended Jenkins with pay after the story went public, but she has now resumed work.
“We are disgusted by the language used on this guest check and it has no place in our restaurant or anywhere else,” a Red Lobster representative said in a statement to ABC News. “We were in constant communication with [our server] throughout this situation and have extended her a high degree of respect and caring for what happened. No one should have to endure what our employee went through.”
Some online commenters have called the authenticity of the receipt into question, but Jenkins stands by her story.
“I was just trying to create awareness that racism is still taking place in this generation,” Jenkins said. “For people who think it’s fake, my heart goes out to them and I wish them the best.”
A rash of receipts left with racist remarks have made headlines recently, from a Papa John’s employee who identified a customer as “lady chinky eyes” to a CVS employee referring to an Asian woman as “Ching Chong Lee” on her receipt.