A waitress who received a $ 4,400 tip from a group of Good Samaritans to share between her and another server has been fired from her job after the restaurant manager forced her to cough up most of the money.
Grant Wise, who owns a local real estate company, organized the ‘$ 100 Dinner Club’ to dine at Oven and Tap in Bentonville, Arkansas, earlier this month, with each member contributing a $ 100 tip.
Wise told KNWA that he called the restaurant ahead of the excursion to confirm that the servers did not share tips, and when he gave one of the waitresses, Ryan Brandt, a $ 4400 check to share between her and another waitress who served the group, she was left in tears.
But soon after, Brandt said, restaurant managers told her she had to share the tip with all her colleagues ̵[ads1]1; something she said they had not asked for in the three and a half years she has worked there.
“I was told I was going to give my money to my shift manager and I would take 20 percent home with me,” Brandt told FOX 59, noting that she had never been asked to split her tip before in three and a year and a half she worked there.
Brandt, who studied Spanish at the University of Arkansas, said she was “devastated” to have to joke about the big tip since she had planned to use the money to pay off her student loans.
A few days later, Wise found out that Brandt had been fired for “breaking” the restaurant’s rules by telling Wise about the tip policy.
Grant Wise, left, who owns a local real estate company, organized the “$ 100 Dinner Club” to dine at Oven and Tap with each member contributing a $ 100 tip.
When he told Ryan Brandt she would receive a $ 4400 tip to share with another server, she broke down in tears
Brandt said she planned to use the money to repay her student loans, but was told by the restaurant management that she had to share it with all the staff – something she had never been asked to do before.
Wise had come up with the idea for the ‘$ 100 Dinner Club’ during the pandemic, and told 5 News that he knew many servers that struggled during COVID-related shutdowns.
He had hosted a real estate conference in Arkansas, and orchestrated the event at Oven and Tap to pay further.
“We knew that servers were really hard hit by COVID, and that was something [a friend] had come up to help give back, ‘he told 5 News, noting that he chose Oven and Tap because it was one of his and his wife’s favorite restaurants.
He said he had called the restaurant in advance to confirm that the restaurant did not have a tip-sharing policy or to collect tips, and when a restaurant employee confirmed that they did not have such a policy, Wise and his wife went ahead with their plan.
They then gave Brandt the big tip, and left her in tears – a moment that was posted on Instagram on December 2.
“I’m so sorry to interrupt everyone’s dinner, this will only take 60 seconds,” Wise begins in the video.
“We have a table full of amazing people from all over the country who have traveled here, and tonight we are hosting a $ 100 Dinner Club,” he says, wrapping his arm around Brandt and pointing into the distance.
“Everyone at this table has contributed or given $ 100 to you and the other waitress who unfortunately had to go home because she is not feeling well.
“And then we posted it on our social media channels, and then we actually got sent in a little more money, so we bet a total of $ 4400 for you to share with the other girl who took care of us.”
Wise said he chose Oven and Tap in Bentonville, Arkansas (pictured) because it was one of his and his wife’s favorite local restaurants
Brandt was in tears after the announcement, but soon, Wise said, he found out that the restaurant managers had asked her to share the tip.
Wise said he tried to contact the owner to “make sure everything worked out, but that he was unable to contact her except for a few text messages that eventually stopped.”
Then he went back to Oven and Tap to get the money back and deliver it to Brandt right outside the restaurant, he said.
But by December 7, Wise posted on social media, he had found out that Brandt was fired from his job.
“I’m so sad to hear that the girl we tipped here tonight at our dinner club for $ 100 has been fired from her job,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I do not quite understand why this should happen to what seems like such a sweet and kind-hearted woman.
‘Nevertheless, I am committed to showing her that there are great people in the world who will do good when they can.’
He repeated that feeling in a video he posted on YouTube, where he announced that he would put together a GoFundMe for the waitress.
“I hope we can help this girl stay on top and not let anything like that get her down,” he said, noting: “I do not quite understand … but I want to do as much as we can . to help.’
In a statement to FOX 59, Oven and Tap officials said: “After eating, this large group of guests requested that their gratuity be given to two special servers. We fully respected their request.
“Out of respect for our highly valued team members, we do not discuss the details of the dismissal of an employee.”
Wise posted on social media on December 7 that he discovered that Brandt was fired
He created a GoFundMe to help her pay the expenses until she finds another job. It raised $ 8,700 as of Saturday, when Wise dropped it
Wise wrote in the online fundraiser that he wanted to help Brandt “get through the next few months, and hopefully find a new job opportunity,” noting that he “does not know Ryan outside of her who has been waiting for us in the past.” and do not know what type of employee she was outside of what I personally experienced and what we have read from others who commented that were her regulars.
“My only goal is to help her get through this experience with the least amount of stress and anxiety and move on to what her next opportunity might be.”
On Thursday, Wise released an update that said Brandt was offered a job at another restaurant, and began work on December 8.
He closed the collection on Saturday, after it passed 8700 dollars.