- Alois Bell, a pastor at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church. Uncharitable, vengeful, arrogant and cheap, she complained about an autotip of 18% added to her Applebee’s check that was triggered by the size of her group. The bill was small, but the group was large. Crossing out the tip amount and replacing it with nada, she scrawled, insufferably, on the bill, “I give 10% to God, why do you get 18?”, thus stiffing the waiter whom the party later said had rendered impeccable service. She also scrawled “pastor” by the bill amount, thus presuming a clergy discount that didn’t (and shouldn’t) exist. After a waitress colleague of the un-tipped waiter posted the bill on Reddit to inspire some well-earned web-shaming, Bell complained to Applebee’s management, successfully getting the waitress fired.
Verdict: Contemptible jerk. She abused her position to claim a discount that she wasn’t entitled to, and punished an innocent server by withholding a fair tip. [This may not be so; see UPDATE at the end] Then she set out to take vengeance on the young woman for exposing her despicable conduct. So much for showing the other cheek. Bell’s conduct was as far from the teachings of Christianity as one can get, at least at an Applebee’s.
- Chelsea Welch, the now ex-Applebee’s waitress. She posted the obnoxious bill and scrawled comments online, whereupon the pastor was identified by her handwriting, and perhaps her jerkish personality.
Verdict: Unethical conduct, though provoked. Her colleague was wronged by the cheap pastor, but she forgot she wasn’t free to do as an Applebee’s employee what she might choose to do as a private individual. Applebee’s can’t have its customers worrying about whether real or perceived slights to restaurant staff will land them on various websites to be mocked and vilified. Her actions were irresponsible and a violation of her duties as an employee, even though her anger was certainly justified. And her method of retribution was excessive and unethical too.
Clearly, the pastor is the villain here, although Applebee’s had no choice other than to fire Welch. What she did can’t be condoned or tolerated. Bell, however, is a disgrace. She told has been quoted as saying, “My heart is really broken, I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry,” and that has been termed “an apology” by the site that broke the story, “The Smoking Gun.” That’s not an apology; she’s regretting the consequences of her actions. She owes a real apology to the original waiter (we don’t know his name) and to Welch, whom she vindictively got fired from her job. Welch, in that case, though she might choke on it, would owe an apology to Bell, who should be able to behave like an ass in Applebees without being made into a web-super villain by a waitress. Welch also ought to apologize to Applebee’s. In fact, there is a lot of repair work needed here:
…If I were Welch, I’d apologize to Applebee’s now, and Bell if she ever showed any genuine contrition in the matter. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
…If I were Bell, I’d apologize to Welch for getting her fired, and personally ask Applebee’s to give Welch another chance—and pay the original waiter at least the 18% tip he was owed in the first place. [ See UPDATE below]
...I were Applebee’s, I’d ban Bell from the restaurant for life. But I wouldn’t re-hire Welch. I would also spell out in my employees manual why web-shaming customers is a no-no. And it may owe Bell about 7 bucks.
…If I were in charge of the Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church, I’d consider getting rid of Bell and find someone who actually practices what she preaches.
And if I were The Smoking Gun, I’d look up what “apology” means.
UPDATE: Now it appears that the pastor left a tip in cash, and only complained about it on the slip. And that Applebee’s charged her credit card with the tip anyway, meaning that it owes her money. If true, this makes Bell far less of a villain, and also makes her complaint to the restaurant more justifiable. It also makes Welch’s conduct look reckless and unfair, further justifying her dismissal.
Pointer: Lianne Best
Graphic: The Smoking Gun 2,