A few months ago, a waitress at Alfredo's Cafe in Scranton, Pennsylvania, seemed to have hit the jackpot when a customer tipped her $3,000 on a $13 order of stromboli. But that feel-good story has turned into a pain in the till for the restaurant, which is now taking the man who left the tip to court. Read on to find out why.
$3,000 Tip Seemed Legit, Then Wasn't
Last June, the staff of Alfredo's were amazed that a customer passing through town left his server a $3,000 tip on a $13 bill. Managers were initially suspicious, but the credit card charge went through. The man said he left the generous tip as part of a social media movement called Tips for Jesus. "It really meant a lot to me because everyone's going through stuff," said sever Mariana Lambert. "It really touched my heart. I still can't believe it. I'm still in shock." But the situation became more shocking a few weeks later.
Restaurant Out $3,000
"A little over a month ago, we received something in the mail that Eric [Eric Smith was the person who left the tip] was disputing the charge for the tip that he left," manager Zachary Jacobson told WNEP. Management at Alfredo's reached out to Smith, hoping the whole thing was a misunderstanding. The restaurant had already paid Lambert the tip of $3,000, which they've now lost.
Three Months Later, "There's Nothing"
"We thought somebody was actually trying to do a good thing," said Jacobson. "And then now we are, what, three months later? Not even, and there's nothing. There's nothing to show for it at this point."
"A Lot of Nonsense and Drama"
The restaurant started communicating with Smith through Facebook. Then stopped answering messages. Now they're taking him to court. "It's just a little aggravating right now. It's been causing a lot of nonsense and drama," said Jacobson. "Unfortunately, we had to file charges through the magistrate's office because now we're just out of this money at this point. And he told us to sue him. so that's what we're going to end up doing, I guess."
Happy Moment Has Been Ruined, Restaurant Says
Jacobson told WNEP he hoped the restaurant would prevail in court. But whatever happens, a happy moment for a hard-working waitress—and a nice piece of PR for a small business—has been tarnished. "I hope that he owns up to his actions and comes forth and does pay this because you shouldn't have done this if this was the end result," he said.