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Screengrab via Joelle Nicole Maish/Facebook

Family refuses to tip server because of her LGBTQ tattoo

The family also told her she 'doesn't love Jesus.'


Ana Valens


Posted on Aug 10, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:01 pm CDT

Getting stiffed as a server, a person who often can’t live off their hourly wage, is infuriating (just ask this bar that served Kendall Jenner). But getting stiffed for discriminatory reasons is a whole different level of anguish.

Samantha Heaton is a waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockport, Illinois. Last week, a family spent $60.55 at the chain and chose to skip out on a tip. Despite the fact that sexuality or politics didn’t come up during the entire meal, the family saw Heaton’s rainbow tattoo and proceeded to criticize her for it.

“Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus!” the family wrote on the receipt. “Bad tatoo [sic].”

In an interview with the River Rock Times, Heaton said she felt “hurt” by the tip, in part because she went out of her way to make sure the family enjoyed their time at the restaurant.

“I went above and beyond for this couple, and for them to leave that [note] kind of hurt,” Heaton said. “Like, I have bills to pay too.”

But for Heaton, it’s not just about paying the bills. The family came with two young children, still in their elementary school years. Heaton is worried the parents are teaching their kids how to hate.

“The kids are going to be under the impression that it will be OK to discriminate against anybody,” Heaton said to the Times.

Heaton’s coworker Joelle Nicole Maish turned to Facebook in her defense, criticizing the family for their tip message. She pointed out how a gay woman could be a lesbian and a Christian, and that a religious family shouldn’t judge their server for her sexual orientation.

“I would just like to say that being gay does NOT MEAN you don’t believe in God or Jesus,” Maish wrote. “And people who are ‘religious’ should not disrespect or act in such ways to other people.”

Maish’s post has since gone viral. Many came to Heaton’s defense, pointing out how Jesus would most certainly show generosity to the waitress instead of denying her a tip.

Others were amazed that the family would have the audacity to attack the server. Some even pointed out that it’s wrong to assume Heaton’s sexual orientation based on a tattoo alone.

Since then, concerned Twitter users have tried sending tip money over to Heaton and Maish. But both insist that they don’t want the money, and they’ll donate any cash they receive. They just want to raise awareness for what happened.

H/T LGBTQ Nation

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*First Published: Aug 10, 2017, 11:21 am CDT