Every culture has a different relationship with its restaurants and its service workers, and that includes the expectation to tip.
Some countries view the act of tipping as rude, while others actively depend on it, stated the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor aitacoffeeserver was appalled when he discovered that a server had created a racist video about his mother, who wasn’t aware of the expectation to tip.
When the manager got involved, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong to speak up.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for reporting a server over posting a TikTok?”
The OP’s mother came to visit from another country.
“This may sound implausible, but setting: coffee shop in small-town America, most people know each other, so not really that out of the ordinary.”
“There’s a nice indie cafe a few blocks from my house, which I (28 Male) go to a couple of times weekly, servers all know me.”
“This month, I had my mum with me, her visiting the US for the first time. Mum spent all her life in a SE Asian country, her English is not good, etc. Anyway, I go to work one day last week, mum wanders over to the cafe.”
The OP realized he forgot to tell his mom about tipping.
“I get home that night, ask mum how her trip to the cafe was. She says it’s nice, told me what she got, and f**k – I forgot she doesn’t know about tipping here (where she lives, there’s a large service charge included so you don’t really tip in eateries, and def not in small ones).”
“COMPLETELY my bad, and entirely my fault for forgetting to inform her. I ask her which server, she describes someone I know as Jane (25ish Female).”
“I go to the cafe the next day the minute it opens, sees Jane is working, and apologize profusely, explains my mum doesn’t know about tipping, and give her a 70% tip (bill came up to around $10 so it wasn’t really breaking the bank).”
“She was understandably slightly cool, but I apologized to the best of my ability.”
“I thought that was that.”
Then the OP found out about the TikTok video.
“No, 2 days later a colleague texts me a link to a TikTok. Jane apparently has a sizeable TikTok following where she talks about being a barista, her customers, how to make x or y drink.”
“Nice stuff. Except a video from the day my mum visited, where Jane videoed the back and side of her head, made jokes about people coming over from ‘f**k knows,’ not tipping because it’s ‘man eat dog world out there,’ quietly barked on video (she didn’t seem to notice it was at her).”
“There were LOTS of shares and likes and comments, by the way. Again, our town is 99% white, Jane wouldn’t really be encountering many foreigners at all, it’s not a no-tip epidemic.”
Jane’s manager then got involved.
“I gave her benefit of the doubt, went over the next day, and politely asked her to take it down.”
“She said no, it’s her right, and it was her ‘degrading’ experience.”
“The manager comes over, Jane tells the tipping part and that she made a video ‘out of desperation,’ and she wouldn’t take it down.”
“I tell the manager that I came back, apologized, tipped her 70%, and explained my mum didn’t know.”
“I showed her the Tiktok, and the manager’s face changes. She doesn’t discipline Jane in front of me, but from what I hear, she was let go immediately.”
This caused problems in the community.
“Now her mother is posting on her own and my FB, as well as hinting on the community FB group about certain people not respecting servers, and causing Jane to be fired.”
“Several people (many who don’t know the whole story) agreed with her, even discussing setting up a collection.”
“Almost total belief that I am the AH, no mention of the TikTok.”
“Should I have dragged my 70 y/o mum in to apologize to Jane? What exactly can I do now?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP did everything he needed to do to make the situation right.
“NTA obviously. You made a mistake and fixed it to the best of your ability even though you had no obligation to do so. Jane was beyond an asshole and got herself fired.”
“And just in case this doesn’t go without saying, this would be the verdict even if the TikTok was simply rude and didn’t also include obvious and horrible racist references.” – ANameWithoutMeaning
“OP gave the server an out. Hey, I saw this – my mom didn’t know to tip. I’ve tipped you. This video is wrong. Take it down.”
“And Jane doubled down on it.”
“I don’t know what Jane thought the end of it would be.”
“Did she think OP would just drop it and not mention this to anyone?”
“I’d be tempted to reply on Facebook of – I’m sorry your daughter thought it was appropriate to make a racist TikTok video about my mother not tipping her and not take it down after I both asked both over tipped her and asked her.” – rak1882
“I’d video the post and repost it on her mother’s accounts and caption it: THIS is why she got fired. And explain my side of the situation.”
“(Mom is not from this country and doesn’t know the society customs/norms when it comes to tipping. I returned the next day with an apology and more than ample monetary apology. I asked her to take the TikTok down. She refused, I showed it to the manager, she was fired.)”
“I’ll be d**med if I’m going to be judged in a court of society and not fire back. But this is me.” – SeptemberStormZ
“Tipping isn’t mandatory, and it should have ended at that. Jane was not only unprofessional, but she also didn’t have to make it personal either.”
“Jane did the tried and true, ‘f**ked around and found out.’ The firing is the results of her own actions.” – Valoneria
Others agreed and said the server got herself fired for her behavior.
“He should have let her leave that racist TikTok up so everyone knows what a fricken racist she is. Then he could tag mom and daughter and see how well that goes over.”
“She doesn’t get to be racist just because she didn’t get a tip REGARDLESS as to the OP giving her the tip later.” – AlwaysAlexi777
“Videotaping a customer without notification or consent is absolutely a reportable offense. Do you really want to be known as a place that allows employees to videotape customers? People can be posted online without context which is exactly what happened here.”
“The manager should be worried that OP is going to jump online, point out the racist TikTok and bring a firestorm down on the place.” – ThePorkinsAwakens
“I was a server for 10+ years. Not getting tipped sucked, of course, but it happens. Being racist on a public forum is NOT the answer, and she deserved to get fired, IMO (in my opinion).” – KirinoLover
“Jane is a racist a**hole who got caught because hello, the stuff you post on the internet is just like exposing yourself in public.” – Illiannoyance
“At the end of this, Jane didn’t care about the tip… she cared about the comments, views, and likes she received on TikTok… lord help us all.” – aerosmith_joe
“I agree somewhat since she was comfortable telling her manager she made and posted the video. Racism was definitely the key reason she was fired.”
“Also, making the video out of desperation? Desperation for what?? It wouldn’t have been desperation for a tip, she didn’t expect it to be seen by OP’s mom. Clearly, it was desperation for attention. She deserved to be fired 100%.” – mkat23
“The TikTok sounds more like an excuse to be racist rather than being p**sed off about being ‘degraded’ over a $2 tip.”
“We don’t tip in my country (NZ), I’m white. Would there be a TikTok about me if I had forgotten, I wonder?”
“Also Mum doesn’t seem too concerned about the content of the video. See where Jane learned it from.” – WilcoWolf
Some were appalled by the contents of the video.
“(1) Yes, do report the Tiktok for racism. People are so entitled now and everything you open up is name and shame.”
“(2) I guess since she is into the shame game, you could share her TikTok and tell what happened. How would the tt community react if they knew she got a 70% tip and is still playing the poor little me game? I wonder how much money she made off of this?” – GottaLoveHim
“Add her comment about the dog eat dog world out there where servers get livable wages without need to tip.” – Draigdwi
“People hide their racism when it would have negative consequences for them. But when they get angry or when they’re chasing internet clout, they’ll forget that they meant to hide it.” – AQualityKoalaTeacher
“She was wrong on all counts:”
“1. She filmed your mom in her workplace and posted it without mom or the owners’ permission. While she was supposed to be working.”
“2. You came back the next day, apologized, explained, and OVERTIPPED her, she did not take it down.”
“3. You are made aware by other people of an insulting and disgustingly racist TikTok about your mom.”
“4. You ask her to take it down, she refuses and spouts nonsense about her rights, despite the fact that she has actually violated the law, particularly in regards to hate crimes against Asians.”
“5. The manager when apprised of the situation quite rightly fired her, even though all you asked is that she take the vid down.”
“They can all pound salt and you should now go after her TikTok account! Usually tried to be reasonable and she and her family and followers acted like AHs.” – Momo2228811
While the OP didn’t want to cause anyone to be fired, the subReddit didn’t believe he did. Rather, pointing out that the video was distasteful was a strike against the server, not her concern about not being tipped.