Thursday, January 31, 2013

Waitress fired after posting controversial pastor receipt on Reddit



JANUARY 31--The St. Louis pastor responsible for the credit card receipt heard ‘round the Internet termed her snide scribblings a “lapse in my character and judgment,” adding that the Applebee’s employee who posted the receipt online was fired yesterday after she lodged a complaint with restaurant managers.

In a TSG interview, Alois Bell said that the online firestorm created by the receipt has left her stunned. “My heart is really broken,” said the 37-year-old Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”

The Applebee’s receipt, which was posted earlier this week to Reddit, includes Bell’s handwritten notations referring to an 18 percent tip added to the bill (for groups larger than six). “I give God 10% why do you get 18,” wrote Bell, who scratched out the tip and added a zero in its place. She also wrote the word “Pastor” above her signature.

The January 25 meal came after an evening service at the Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries church, said Bell, who added that five adults and five children were in the group that dined at Applebee’s (a traditional post-service destination for church members). The subsequent bill was divided up amongst the parties.

Bell, seen above, said her notation on the receipt was a “lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion.” Despite scratching out the tip added to the bill, Bell claimed that she left a $6 tip in cash, adding that she subsequently discovered the 18 percent gratuity had been charged to her credit card.

Bell said she learned yesterday that a copy of the receipt was online when a friend called to say she was “all over Yahoo. You went viral!” In response, she called the Applebee’s to complain about the dissemination of her receipt, which includes her easy-to-read signature.

In a follow-up conversation with an Applebee’s manager, Bell said she was told that the waitress was immediately terminated.

According to The Consumerist, the receipt was not uploaded to Reddit by the Applebee’s worker who waited on Bell’s party. Instead, the server showed it to waitress Chelsea Welch, who photographed the receipt and later shared it online. Welch told The Consumerist she was fired yesterday. In a statement, Applebee’s spokesperson Dan Smith reported that, “Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest” for violating the patron’s “right to privacy.” The individual responsible for the leak “is no longer employed by the franchise,” Smith added.

A mother of three, Bell heads a 15-member church that rents a storefront space. Bell said she has a separate full-time job--which she declined to describe--and tithes 10 percent of her earnings to the church.

In addition to her fledgling ministry, Bell has authored three slim books--covering topics like fasting, prayer, and religious teaching--that are available for purchase through an online vanity press. One 28-page volume examines spiritual nourishment, complete with references to candy and junk food. The $10 paperback is titled "Watch the Hand that Feeds You."

According to her biography, Bell “gave her life to Christ in 1997 while she was pregnant and homeless with her youngest son.” Living at the time in a Catholic homeless shelter, Bell recalled that she was laying in her bed one afternoon when “the Lord touched her heart and she invited him in.”

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