Waitress Fired After Getting $4,400 Tip From Generous Customer

An Arkansas woman lost her job as a server at the Oven & Tap after a generous customer gave her a $4,400 tip. Ryan Brandt waited on a table of 40 business execs and did a pretty good job, leading to the five-figure bonus. Needless to say, it was a big shock and a welcome one at that, leaving her in tears. However, her bosses weren’t that pleased with it.

The moment Ryan received the tip was posted to Instagram by someone who was at the dinner, Rebecca Soto. “I’m humbled to have been part of something so beautiful and generous. To bless someone else without previously knowing them,” she wrote. “I have been blessed, so it is wonderful to pay it forward and bless someone else. God bless all who contributed and the servers who received it. I pray it may be multiplied and impact their life for the better.”

In the clip, Grant Wise, who hosted the dinner for the group, hands over a wad of bills to Ryan, saying, “Everybody at this table has contributed or tipped $100 for you, and for the other waitress, who unfortunately had to go home because she wasn’t feeling well. And then we put it out to our social media channels, and we actually had quite a bit more money sent in. So we are tipping you a total of $4,400 for you to split with the other girl that took care of us.”

The gesture was enough to reduce Ryan Brandt to tears, but they soon turned from tears of joy to ones of anger. As she told KNWA news, her bosses wanted the lump sum and only planned to give her a small percentage. “I was told that I was going to be giving my cash over to my shift manager, and I would be taking home 20%,” she revealed.

Brandt told the network that in all three years she’d been working at the restaurant, she’d never been told to hand over or divide up her tips. Once Wise found out that the money hadn’t been given to the intended recipient, he called Oven & Tap and asked for his money back. That’s when Brandt got fired for “violating [the restaurant’s] policy.”

“It was devastating,” Brandt said. “I borrowed a significant amount for student loans. Most of them were turned off because of the pandemic, but they’re turning back on in January and that’s a harsh reality.”

However, Wise and his colleagues weren’t going to let this go. They decided to start a GoFundMe and raised nearly $10,000 in a few days (and more than $18,000 to date). This should help her as she looks for another job that won’t try to steal her hard-earned money.

Oven & Tap, of course, has tried to cover their backsides and denied taking Brandt’s cash. “After dining, this large group of guests requested that their gratuity be given to two particular servers,” the company said in a statement. “We fully honored their request. Out of respect for our highly valued team members, we do not discuss the details surrounding the termination of an employee.”

Tipping culture is the only way servers can make a decent wage. Having employers not only be too cheap to pay a living wage and then stealing their tips on top? Hell no.

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.