We all know this to be true – think about what happens on a weekend after long week of hard work. You call up your best friend and discuss plans for the night, and more often than not those plans will include going out to eat first. Or perhaps you have a big family, and want to enjoy a lovely evening out and about with them. Such was the case for Whitney Anderson, a young woman with a husband and three kids, who only had one desire when a beautiful evening came around – to go out with her family and enjoy a nice meal. But she didn’t know what she was about to get herself into.
Whitney excitedly took her family out to Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, and as the night progressed, things proceeded well. Her entire family loved the food, the drinks, the atmosphere, and the waiting staff. In fact, the waitress in charge of taking care of the Andersons was particularly on her game that night. She smiled at them, she served them their food, she helped them whenever they needed something. But that night, this waitress was a little bit too much on her game, if you catch our drift.
Due to the amazing work this waitress did, Whitney felt that she deserved a big tip. She, like most of the tip-giving community in the entire world, wanted to express her appreciation to her family’s waitress by rewarding her with a fat tip. And it seemed that that’s how the story should have ended. But alas, this was not case – the next morning Whitney happened to take a glance at her bank account and saw that something was looking very funky. What she saw was that she had been deceived by someone she had thought was good-hearted. The waitress who she so trusted had turned the tables on her.
Whenever we make the decision to go out with our family to a nice restaurant, something we are definitely not worried about is that we need to have our defenses up. Because isn’t the whole point of going out to a nice place so we can relax ourselves and let our guard down? It’s one of those things where we want to take a break from our routine of standard home Tuesday dinners, and yet we still want to have that warm and cuddly feeling of being at home.
Because when we’re out at a fancy restaurant, the whole point is that we are smiling. Everyone around us is smiling, and that includes you, your spouse, your kids, the other customers, the chefs in the back – and obviously, the waiters and waitress. In fact, this is a big part of the waiting staff’s job. They aren’t meant just to serve you your food – they are required to smile and give you a positive restaurant experience. The issue is that smiles can sometimes be deceiving.
This is exactly what Whitney Anderson found out when she went out for a nice meal with her husband and three kids. This was their special night to enjoy themselves and not worry about a thing. Perhaps they were celebrating something special, such as a birthday or a good test grade – or maybe they just wanted a change of environment. Whatever their reason was for going out to eat, they shouldn’t have had to have their guard up. They had no idea there was a robber in their midst.
Let’s go to Abuelo’s
Obviously, one of the most fun things about going to eat is deciding what restaurant you want to go out to. It’s the reason we spend upwards of ten to sometimes thirty minutes making this choice. After careful deliberation, the Andersons made the tough choice of going to eat at Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant. The truth is, if we were in their position, we’d be super excited too – who doesn’t enjoy themselves a good burrito every now and then? But about how about with a side of thief?
Fun on the surface
We’re going to tell you exactly how it happened. The Andersons’ story started off pretty smoothly. They entered Abuelo’s, most likely breathing in a beautiful scent that people usually smell when they first walk into a restaurant. They were sat down by the seemingly wonderful waiting staff, and they were more than excited to eat their meal. And it seemed at first that their hopes were met – everything about their night went off smoothly without a hitch – especially one thing in particular.
Top notch waitress
There was one particular aspect about their night that Whitney felt deserved notable recognition – the performance of their waitress. She had really felt like she had done a good job, or at least she must have really appreciated her demeanor towards her family, because Whitney chose to give her a very generous tip. Because tipping, of course, is yet another large part of the restaurant going experience. And the waiters and waitresses know this fact quite well.
The tipping experience
Whether or not avid restaurant goers enjoy the tipping process, it is nevertheless a big part of the experience. In most places around the world, each table has a waiter or a waitress, and in within the time bubble of one night, there is a certain relationship that is built between the waiter or waitress, and the customer. It is customary for them to leave a tip – a little added bonus that usually around 10% of the original bill.
That was generous
Now the story begins to get very interesting – due to the fact that Whitney must have really appreciated the job that was done by her waitress, she gave her a very large tip – an extra $10 off of a $45 bill! This is a tip that amounts to almost 25%, which is much higher than waitresses normally receive. It would make sense that this waitress would feel grateful for such a gesture, and it seemed to Whitney that she was. But things would get ugly sooner rather than later.
Well that’s weird
Sooner came the next day, when Whitney Anderson woke up and went through her daily routine, one of these things including the checking of her bank account. But when she looked at it, she turned away and did a double take. She had assumed that $55.50 would be gone, because this is exactly how much she had spent the night before – but there was actually more missing. It was peculiar for Whitney to see not $55.50 missing – but $65.50 missing. This made no sense.
Whitney sat around for a long while wondering why there was an extra ten dollars missing from her account. She thought long and hard, and eventually a weird idea entered her mind – but it couldn’t be. She had just begun to think about the waitress, and wondered whether or not she was to blame for the missing money. But why would she do such a thing after she had already been given a gracious tip? Whitney had a feeling, but didn’t jump to conclusions – she would investigate further.
Not jumping to conclusions
Sometimes, when unfortunate things happen to us in life, we tend to think the worst of some people. And sometimes, we later learn that the negative thoughts we felt about someone else were in fact misguided, clouded by the fact that we couldn’t see things clearly. Whitney took a deep breath and realized that there must be a proper explanation. There must have been some sort of mistake that was made at the restaurant – Whitney chose to see the good in the waitress – until she had more facts.
So Whitney rushed to the restaurant, and headed up to the front desk. She asked the staff if she could see the receipt from her family’s bill the previous night. They gave her what she asked for, but when Whitney looked at it she saw that something wasn’t right. They had given her the wrong receipt – it wasn’t the merchant copy, it was the customer copy – she gave it back to them and they realized she was right. This confused them as much as it confused her.
The missing merchant copy
Let’s talk a bit about the way receipts work. When it comes to receipts, there is a merchant copy, and a customer copy, and the merchant copy is one that the restaurant is supposed to hold on to, and it has an accurate description of the original bill. However, upon Whitney’s arrival and request for her receipt, they realized that the merchant copy was nowhere to be found. It seemed that it had gotten lost, or misplaced, or – possibly thrown in the trash?
Let’s get it out there
Whitney had been very patient for a long time. She had an idea in her head for a while that the waitress that she so trusted the previous night was to blame for her missing ten dollars. And yet she thought, “There must be an appropriate explanation”. But this was too much – she then told the restaurant staff about her waitress from last night, and told them her suspicions. She said her waitress must have thrown away the merchant copy, and added an extra ten dollars to her tip.
From 10 to 20
Whitney’s claim was that the waitress had changed the “10” on her tip to a “20”, indirectly committed forgery of Whitney’s signature, and upon looking at the receipt, what she said seemed to make sense. But there was a little bit of a problem – on one hand, the owner of the restaurant seemed to believe Whitney, and he even took it upon himself to tell her that they would refund her the ten dollars. But he didn’t seem to be showing much empathy for Whitney.
Owner lacks empathy
Whitney wasn’t too happy with the way she was being treated. On the one hand, they did say that they would be refunded her money, but on the other hand, they also said it would take ten business days. Why should she have to wait ten business days to be refunded a mere ten dollars that was stolen from her only the previous night? In addition, why did it seem like the owner didn’t seem to care that his waitress had done a crime?
Whitney brought up a few excellent points – it was one thing that she would have to wait ten days to get her money back, but she could accept that. More concerning to her was the idea that a waitress could do something so wrong, and get away with it. What if she had already done this to other people? What if she continued to do it? Whitney was looking at things on a grander scale, and she wanted justice to be served.
In the thriller film Minority Report starring Tom Cruise, a highly advanced system is able to predict a crime before it happens – and they use this technology to protect their society. It is similar here – how could it be that the owner of Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant is unwilling to fire his waitress, or at least reprimand her on some level for what she had done? Maybe the owner didn’t want this crime to get blown up to the point that his business would be in jeopardy.
Mad at the thief
Whitney left the restaurant that day feeling a lot worse than she had felt when she left the restaurant the previous night. She was very annoyed with the idea that this waitress was still out there, plastering a pleasant facade for other restaurant-goers to fall for, before she makes them pay for trusting her by stealing their money. In Whitney’s eyes, adding money to a tip you’ve already received is just the same as stealing someone’s debit card – so Whitney took matters into her own hands.
There is something to be said about the amazing time we live in – thanks to social media, there are so many avenues that we have at our disposal to get information out to the world if we believe it’s important enough – and Whitney certainly felt that her information was of the utmost importance. She decided that she would tell her story to her Facebook community, and see what happens. Hopefully, she would get some traction and some people would be willing to help her out – but what happened next took her by surprise.
Local news coverage
She may have hoped that people would have empathy for her and take action in light of her story, but she never would’ve imagined that the story would become big enough to the point that a local news station would hear about it and broadcast it! This was the moment when things started to change – it’s interesting what happens to people the second they aren’t the biggest bully on the campus. And this is what the owner of the restaurant would soon find out.
When Whitney originally came into the restaurant, the owner kind may have agreed to refund her the ten dollars, but said it would take ten days, and wasn’t really interested in giving her the time of day, feeling the need to keep the story quiet. But when the story got broadcasted by a local news station, the owner began to grow concerned – so he decided to give Whitney a call a lot sooner than she originally expected.
A shift in the tide
This was a sign that the tables had turned – once the owner realized that Whitney wouldn’t put up without a resilient fight, he got nervous and called her not long after. He told Whitney that he would be willing to pay her in cash the very next day, and not only that – she’d be receiving not just the stolen money, but a full refund for her entire meal. Whitney was happy to hear that, but there was something else the owner said that slightly irked her.
What she really wanted
Actions generally speak louder than words, and in this case they really took their toll on Whitney. The fact of the matter was that in addition to the money, Whitney wanted something to be done about the waitress. And although the owner said that they would pay her back the money in full, she really just wanted them to fire that waitress – but all the owner said to Whitney was that they were sorry for the “bad experience” she had.
Keeping a level head, Whitney went back the very next day to Abuelo’s to collect her full cash refund. Even though she was upset at the restaurant, she wasn’t about to turn down a refund. After she had received it, she tried as hard as she could to implore them to see reason, but they still weren’t willing to do anything about the waitress that had stolen money from her. It seems that the owner wasn’t being very responsible about his employees.
Our life on earth is a long journey where we are given multitudes of scenarios where we must make choices. Sometimes it’s obvious to us what the right thing to do is, and sometimes it’s not. And sometimes even though we know what the right thing to do is, we continue to tread down the wrong path because it’s something we are familiar with. But why do we do this? Surely we want to improve ourselves… Right?
Sweep it under the rug
This is the dilemma that the owner of Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant had to deal with when Whitney came to her with her story. On one hand, he understood that there was a moral right thing to do – this waitress had clearly done something wrong, and it could have done something about it. On the other hand, it was a lot easier for him to sweep this dirt-ridden event under his squeaky clean rug, and hope that no one noticed.
Bad track record
It actually turned out that Whitney was absolutely right about the waitress. When she speculated that it was possible that this particular waitress had perhaps done the same thing to other previous customers, it was later revealed that Whitney was a hundred percent right. It turns out that the very same waitress had a history of stealing before from customers she had waited on in the past, and she had actually gotten fired from those restaurants because of it.
A good leader
When Whitney found out that this waitress had actually stolen from others too, she was very upset, but she was at least happy to know that the restaurants owners in the past places she’d worked weren’t going to stand for such wrongdoing. A group is only as strong as its weakest link, and a good leader knows how to fix the weak link. A bad leader is someone who pretends like nothing is wrong, and allows the toxicity to spread.
Whitney was understandably upset about what had happened to her and her family, but she still felt very victorious. She saw something wrong, and did all she could to try and fix it. She wasn’t afraid to publicize her story to the public even if it might have been a little embarrassing or scary for her to do. For this, we applaud Whitney on her efforts – there is a hero in all of us, and she reminded us how true that is.