It was almost the end of another day at work, and her feet hurt. This young waitress did not plan to work as a waitress for the rest of her life. As a matter of fact, she was just there to make enough money to pay off her tuition fees and start a new life. When she saw the tip that the customer left for her, she was in shock. Just like that, it felt like all of her dreams were now within her reach! However, this dream of hers was shattered when her boss decided to take it away from her.
Dreaming Of Becoming A Dentist
For three years, Shikira Edwards worked at Denny’s to pay for her fees at dental school. She was a dedicated person who did not mind putting up with the job if it meant securing her future prospects. Despite everything, she could not wait until she could finally hang up the apron for good. She prepared for a long shift at work and looked at the mirror. As usual, she wondered what it was going to be like to have no debt to her name. She felt sure that it would be the best feeling in the world.
Her Gorgeous Smile
Anyone who has ever worked in customer service can tell you a story about a difficult customer. She was always surprised whenever she got a thoughtful and kind diner. Shikira felt lucky that she was serving a woman who felt like a breath of fresh air. “She appreciated my smile,” the waitress later said. When this customer and her husband left the restaurant, she saw just how much the couple had appreciated her service!
Their Incredible Generosity
There it was, lying on the table among the coffee dregs and dirty dishes. She was shocked to be greeted by a tip of more than $4,000 through a credit card! Shikira could only stare at it with her jaw hanging. The waitress picked it up and felt her emotions get the best of her. This felt like winning the lottery but even better! She did not want to bother her manager, but she decided to inform him of the good news after she regained her cool.
Shopping In Her Head
In her mind, she was already thinking about how she was going to use this money. She would use part of it to pay off her student debt of $33,000. After that, she wanted to donate to a teen depression mentorship program. “It’s just such a blessing to have good people like that… God did answer my prayers, ’cause he knows what I go through,” she shared during an interview with Fox 13 News.
Her Dreams Were Shattered
Her manager stared at the huge sum in total disbelief. Was this really happening? Even though he knew that people can be generous with tips, this was the first time anything like this has ever happened at the store. After thinking it through, he put it in his own pocket. “I’m sorry,” he told her. “But this is staying with me.” He then told her that she needed to do something if she wanted to get the tip.
Under One Condition
The manager informed Shikira that she could have the money under a certain condition. Already tired from the shift, she was shocked to hear what he had to say. “I’m just hurt that they would tell me something like this as a business, and as being the owner to tell me that this is the only resolution, as if I’m wrong to ask for something I know I deserve,” she recounted while crying.
Time To Research
She then read up on stories of waitresses who received huge sums of money. All she found were touching stories about hard-working women whose dreams finally came true. In the United States, most women in this industry earned anywhere from $298 to $500 per week. As you can imagine, a tip of that size can make them tear up. At the moment, sadly, her future was lying in the pocket of her manager!
It Was A Difficult Decision
Shikira could use that money to improve the state of her life. However, the manager was asking her to do too much to claim what was rightfully hers. After looking at her grad photos, she reminded herself that she only needed to pay off the debt so that she can start working as a dental assistant full-time. She had a stiff drink and knew just what she needed to do about the situation.
She Was No Detective
Her manager told her that she had to track down the customers and ask them if they intended to give her such a big tip. It might sound reasonable to you, but it was not going to be an easy task to accomplish. She was a dental assistant and part-time Denny’s worker, not a detective. On top of that, the customers that she served at the time were not regulars at the store either.
Possible Ulterior Motives
Shikira thought about what she was asked to do and decided what next steps she should take. She was not going to be shocked if anyone at the restaurant wanted the tip all to themselves. After all, the waitress was aware that the store was running low on supplies, had low morale, and was short-staffed. It was a good thing that she soon came up with a brilliant idea.
It Went Viral
She went on Facebook and Twitter, hoping to find the person who left such a huge tip for her. However, her efforts had all been in vain. Even weeks later, her efforts to look for that customer did not turn up anything. Despite this initial failure, the kind people of the internet tried to help her with this big undertaking. They wanted to do anything to help out this poor waitress.
The Public Could Not Believe It
Soon enough, netizens heard about the story and flooded the Denny’s Facebook page with comments. They could not believe that the restaurant was withholding the tip that rightfully belongs to Shikira. A user said, “Are you kidding me!? I’m sure there’s some loophole that will allow them to justify keeping it. Even with a winning ticket; just can’t win.” After a little while, the local news stations got wind of the story too.
She Spread The Word
Shikira got in touch with the local news and told them the details of her story. She hoped that this was going to help her reach the customer as well. The waitress could not help but feel like Denny’s shamed her by telling her to do better at her job when she was already doing her best. On top of all that, they accused Shikira of spreading misinformation as well!
They Blamed Her
She was angry, but it was well within her right to feel that way. In the past, not once did she complain about working long hours at the store in the past. She was not asking for much, only for what is rightfully hers, to begin with. “You’re going to tell me that it’s my fault that I didn’t get the information on a customer when they left and tipped me?” she asked. “I don’t know who tipped me!”
What Denny’s Had To Say
The restaurant released a statement about it as well. “Denny’s would like to make it clear that we would never withhold tips or wages from any of our employees. However, Denny’s also has an obligation to ensure that our guests are charged the proper amount for their meals,” it said and added, “In this case, Denny’s was obliged to investigate and verify the guest did, in fact, intend to leave such a large tip.”
The System Is Unfair
The sad truth is that people in the service industry do not get paid in the same manner as those in different industries. These people get a “tipped minimum wage,” which is only a fraction of the minimum wage set by the state. The rationale behind this is that the tips are meant to cover the rest of the income, even though it is not guaranteed that customers will pay enough. This means that service people are at the mercy of the customers. As you can see, the system is very unfair.
“Denny’s has met with Ms. Edwards and advised her of the outcome of the investigation and we understand the disappointment our server must feel in receiving this news,” Denny’s announced through a media statement. Sadly, Shikira did not get the result that she wanted… It turned out that the tip was nothing more than the result of a huge mistake. Let us see what the company has to say about it.
After The Investigation
“We conducted a thorough investigation into this matter and has discovered the tip in question was made in error,” Denny’s explained in the statement. What did the company find out after some research? It continued, “It was ultimately determined that the guest, who is elderly and unfamiliar with the debit system used at this location, entered a tip amount of $4,451.61 when he intended to leave a $4 tip on his bill.”
Not A Happy Ending
“We have also taken steps to ensure that staff is better equipped to handle similar situations in the future,” explained the spokesperson, “Denny’s is committed to both our guests and our employees and will always seek to provide the fairest and most reasonable resolution under any circumstances.” As you can see, things did not end up the way that Shikira wanted. We are glad to hear that things got resolved in the end, but it still sucks for her.