Tipped over? Waitress’s anonymous tip lands employee in hot water

Image copyright AP Image caption The server’s gift gave the restaurant’s blog traffic a dramatic boost.

A woman has been fired as a waitress at a Japanese restaurant in San Diego after she left a $2,200 (£1,649) tip on a $62 bill.

Karen Yukagi, the author of a blog called the El Chico Mindset, posted a photo of the large tip and asked for credit cards on the menu.

Sharing the photo online led to a huge influx of online traffic.

Ms Yukagi is quoted by the San Diego Union Tribune as saying that her 24-year-old waitress had told her the previous day she needed to choose whether to work on Sundays.

When she did, Ms Yukagi wrote on the blog, her server “scolded her for being a slacker” and fired her as a result.

The server’s good will has now backfired.


“My boss called me to say I’ve been fired because of that photo and my comments online,” Ms Yukagi told the Union Tribune.

“They don’t have a right to do it. You don’t take someone’s word for anything.”

The Union Tribune says the post had prompted more than 2,000 comments on the blog, the waitress’s Facebook page and other local news outlets.

One commenter said Ms Yukagi’s actions were “amateur hour”.

After the restaurant was approached for comment, it sent the San Diego Union Tribune its statement:

“Out of respect for the parties involved, we were instructed not to say anything on camera. The entire staff feels badly about the situation and is very sorry.”

Another customer at the restaurant, Marc Pollack, whose daily blog Rambling Stooges helped spark Ms Yukagi’s comments, told the San Diego Union Tribune that the server had responded to the backlash by firing her and telling Mr Pollack that “anyone would have done what she did”.

Image copyright Google Image caption The entrepreneur shared the picture of the tip on a restaurant’s Facebook page

Image copyright Lucas Valentino Image caption The headline next to the post on the diner’s blog was “Free cash for everyone”.

In America, professional tipping has often been the subject of criticism.

The Tribune article on the case described the situation as a “recipe for disaster”.

“The diner in this situation is like an innocent bystander caught in a never-ending shooting war, left to an uncertain fate in a place that is overburdened with humanity – and an honest clientele,” it said.

The article showed examples of news stories saying some waitresses had been fired as a result of a generous tip.

It quoted Shintaro Yamaguchi, the president of a Japanese restaurant chain, who said tipping was “something bad”.

“A person was entitled to tip 10%, but once you tip 10%, then what? Now they only want to tip 5%, then 2%, then 1%, and some people go for 1% instead of $1.25. It becomes ridiculous.”

Have you ever experienced a similar situation? What do you think of Ms Yukagi’s actions? Get in touch via email, message us on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or WhatsApp by typing BBCNewsEnts followed by your message.

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