A waiter at an Italian chain restaurant in Kansas got a note denying him a tip because of his perceived gay lifestyle, prompting a show of support for the man by local diners.
“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to God. May God have mercy on you,” a couple who had dined at the Carrabba’s in Overland Park, Kan., wrote on their receipt, according to NBC affiliate KSHB.
The 20-year-old waiter did not want to publicize the incident because Carrabba’s requires staff to sign a social media contract that he did not want to breach and because, “he doesn’t want to be made out to be some sort of a celebrity over this,” friend and former teacher Jason Coats told NBC News on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the server’s friends started sharing the story on their own social media pages and sparked an outpouring of support from the community, Coats said.
On Friday night, Coats said “there was a pretty darn extensive wait” for the server’s section because after the story made headlines, the waiter made it clear that he did not want pity or charity.
“That way he’s legitimately earning their tips," Coats said. His friend wants to "let the actions of the people who left this note speak for them and let his actions speak for him," he said.
Earlier in the week, “a local pastor went out on his own and asked to sit in the server’s section saying, specifically as a religious leader, he was appalled by the note,” Coats said.
That pastor, Dr. Marvin Baker, runs the Gay Christian Fellowship in the community and told NBC News he went to the restaurant to tell the waiter, "I’m sorry that you had to experience this, it does not represent Christianity in my judgment."
"He is a delightful young man, just a wonderful server," the pastor added.
Managers at the Overland Park restaurant declined to comment. Manager Melanie Snell relayed a statement by the restaurant chain.
“We do not tolerate discrimination against anybody. That includes employees and customers,” the statement said.