The Conversation

Another Alleged Bigoted Message Left On A Waitress's Receipt: But Are These Stories Credible?

Another day, another news story about a waitress being left an angry, bigoted note instead of a tip.

Back in September, an African-American waitress at a Red Lobster in Tennessee claimed she received a receipt with the word "none" scribbled in the 'TIP' line and the "N" slur scribbled underneath. She posted the receipt on her Facebook page (in defiance of company policy) and an outpouring of compassion rolled in, to the tune of $10,000. 

The victim's word that the receipt was authentic was simply assumed to be true, unquestioned. 

But the man accused, who was dining with his wife that day, claims he did no such thing. While admitting he wrote, "None" on the 'TIP' line, he claims he never wrote the "N" slur underneath. After consulting with his attorney and pastor, he announced he was considering suing Red Lobster (and an analysis of the handwritings purportedly showed they were not the same). 

Now, a gay New Jersey waitress is claiming a similar story: that a customer left an insulting note instead of a tip, reading: 'I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life." She, too, posted the receipt on her Facebook page and is now a national story.

While this waitress's claim seems more credible than the Tennessee claim (due to the length of the message and the less inflammatory use of words), the question is: Should we automatically believe these stories, particularly when it inevitably smears certain groups? (in this stance, the diner is assumed to be a Christian)

The first comment on the Yahoo! story regarding the N.J. waitress reads:  

It had to be from religious people -- they are the only ones who feel threatened by gay people. No one else cares if people are gay.

While another top comment reads:

Bill Maher touched on this last week during his show. Christians are selfish, judgmental snobby elitists who pretend to be some gracious, holier than thou awesome people. I 100% agree with Bill Maher, he was hilarious during this segment.

Hmm.

And, can someone explain why there is a sudden rash of mean Americans leaving nasty notes on a waitresses' receipts?

Considering fake hate crimes seem more common than actual hate crimes these days, why do we accept the authenticity of these stories, without at least considering the potential motives involved (e.g., personal gain, attention)?



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