On Mother’s Day, a customer at a Waffle House in North Carolina was feeling quite benevolent when he left a hefty tip for his waitress.  The customer called Shaina Brown over, and told her, “I’m going to bless you tonight.” And blessing he did. He paid his bill with a credit card and wrote $1,500 on the tip line, asking Brown to share $500 with a haggard-looking woman at a table nearby.

Unfortunately the Waffle House doesn’t take large tips via credit cards and made Brown ‘return’ the tip.
The Waffle House spokeswoman said those tippers who leave large tips are asked to tip again by cash or check. The restaurant handles it that way, she explained, in case the customer decides to dispute the tip later or ask for a refund.

I  think they didn’t let Brown keep her money because they didn’t feel like bothering with it. It’s easier to disappoint a hard-working waitress than lift an extra finger and maybe ruffle a feather or two up the corporate ladder.

When I called the businessman, he told me he didn’t know Brown’s name or number. So I gave it to him, and he’s writing her a personal check for the tip.

But to me, you don’t put up roadblocks to charity. You don’t make it hard for people to be nice, or they’ll give up trying. And more than anything, you don’t dump on your own people as a matter of policy.

I’m guessing Brown’s co-workers are wondering what’ll happen the next time they get rewarded for a good deed. I’m also guessing that any of the Waffle House managers who made this call would feel differently if they’d had a bonus swiped from them.

So I suggest everybody visit the Hillsborough Street Waffle House on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night and specifically request Shaina Brown’s table. Bring cash. Write her name on the bills. And don’t let management take it.

It’s always good to know there are still nice people in the world.


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