receipt with a large tip

Server gets $2k tip, but restaurant says it can’t process a tip that big

What would you do if you received a $2000 tip working as a server? Go on a trip? Put it into savings? Jump for joy and until you figure it out? That’s what this waitress did. Her joy was short-lived, however, when she found out that the restaurant couldn’t give her any of the money.

Waitress Can’t Receive A Dime of her $2000 Tip

21-year-old Emily Bauer had just started working as a server at Red Hook Seafood and Bar in San Antonio, Texas. She is a mom of two sons, aged two years and five months. Her boyfriend was laid off because of COVID, and Bauer was stressed that she wouldn’t be able to give her sons the Christmas she wanted to. (1)

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Two weeks into the job, she was working a busy Sunday shift. Service was slower than usual, and she was continuously apologizing to a gentleman in her section who had particularly long wait times. (1)

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“I kept apologizing. ‘I’m sorry. I’m being slow.’ He was just like, ‘I understand.’ He also mentioned he owned restaurants. So he knew how hard it was to be a server,” Bauer said. (2)

He then told her to cancel what was left on his order and bring him the bill. Bauer obliged. (2)

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An Early Christmas Gift

After the man and his partner left, Bauer went back to the table to collect the bill. When she looked at it, her jaw nearly dropped to the floor. (2)

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The man left her a $2000 tip with a note that said: “Merry Christmas, keep working hard!”.

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Image Credit: KENS

“I just opened it and started crying. I was like, ‘oh my God! My kids! I’m going to spend it all on my kids,’” said Bauer. “I’ve never had a Christmas where I’ve been able to like splurge on them.” (2)

All of the other servers were congratulating her for her well-deserved reward. (1)

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Short-Lived Excitement

Shortly after receiving the tip, however, Bauer found out that she won’t be able to receive any of that money. The system at the restaurant only allows up to $500 tips. (2)

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Some of the other servers suggested they try processing it in four $500 tips, but that didn’t work either. (1)

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“Everybody I’ve talked to has been like, ‘I’ve never heard of that before.’ If it’s left to you and signed by that person, then you should be able to get it.” said Bauer. (2)

The man who left the tip did call the restaurant to make sure she got it and was disappointed that she was unable to receive it. According to the restaurant, he told management that he had a lot of money and owned three restaurants in San Antonio. (2)

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The manager suggested he come back to the restaurant to pay Bauer in cash, but so far he has not come by. (2)

Bauer posted the tip on her social media with a message of gratitude in hopes that the man will see it and know that she was at the very least grateful for the generous gesture. (2)

“Even though I can’t receive it, thank you. Thank you for having such a big heart. This world is filled with messed up people. It’s like, how did he know I needed that?” she said. (2)

No One Has the $2000 Tip

So far, neither Bauer nor the restaurant has heard from the gentleman. As of right now, the amount of money the man attempted to tip is still in his own account. The system kept denying the tip no matter what they tried, so the restaurant doesn’t have the money and neither does Bauer. (2)

Some other news outlets reported on the story before hearing what the restaurant had to say, which has caused an outcry of hate towards the restaurant itself. The restaurant later reached out to clarify that they weren’t keeping the money and denying Bauer her tip, they were simply unable to process the money. (2)

Hopefully, the gentleman who left it will see this and reach out to Bauer soon.

  1. ‘Texas waitress gets $2K tip but restaurant refuses to give her a cent’ NY Post Jackie Salo. Published December 2, 2020.
  2. Server gets $2,000 tip, but restaurant says it can’t process a tip that big KVUE Sharon Ko. Publsished December 1, 2020
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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