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Waitress says customer wrote 'mask' on receipt in lieu of tip after she reminded him of policy

'To write in the word 'mask' just seemed disrespectful," said Kathy Kearney, owner of John Henry's Pub of Ardmore.

A Pennsylvania waitress said a customer left her a note about face masks on his receipt in lieu of a tip after she reminded the man that he needed to wear one when he's not seated.

A photo of the receipt with the word "mask" written on the tip line was shared on the Facebook page of John Henry's Pub of Ardmore, where the waitress works.

"When your staff politely asks a customer to wear a mask until seated, this is how they are disrespected. Totally unacceptable. 'YOU' should be ashamed of yourself!!" a caption on the post reads.

The pub's owner, Kathy Kearney, told NBC News in a phone interview Thursday that the man came into her establishment Sunday for a meal. When he got up from his table and started walking through the pub without a mask, a server asked him to put one on.

The pub's policy states that customers must wear a face mask when not seated at their table. Kearney said staff often remind customers who forget.

"As we do with a lot of different customers, as they walk in we ask them to put their masks on or while they're in and they stand up, we kindly remind them to put their mask back on when they're moving about," she said.

"It's not offensive, it's not aggressive, it's a kindly reminder."

A customer wrote "mask" in the tip line on a receipt after being asked to wear a mask at John Henry's Pub of Ardmore in Ardmore, Penn., on Oct. 4, 2020.
A customer wrote "mask" in the tip line on a receipt after being asked to wear a mask at John Henry's Pub of Ardmore in Ardmore, Penn., on Oct. 4, 2020.John Henry's Pub of Ardmore via Facebook

The server, Jamie Ledwith, told NBC Philadelphia that after she asked the man to wear a mask, he dismissed her.

“When I said, 'Can you please put your mask on if you’re walking through the bar,' they were kind of like, they brushed it off their shoulder and they said, 'Well, you know it’s no big deal, we’re going to sit down anyway,’” Ledwith said.

When Ledwith went to collect the receipt from the man's table, she saw the note the customer had left for her on his $23.50 bill.

Kearney said she was upset about the incident and decided to share a photo of the receipt on the pub's Facebook page.

"If you didn't like our policies or if you were annoyed by us asking you to put on a mask then just leave a zero or leave it blank," she said. "But to write in the word 'mask' just seemed disrespectful."

"I just wanted to remind people that we're doing a hard enough job as it is and not to add to it unnecessarily," she added.

The Facebook photo has drawn strong reactions from people criticizing the customer over the message and for not leaving a tip. Some people have donated money to Ledwith.

Kearney said she doesn't want the focus to be about the money.

"It has nothing to do with money," she said Thursday. "It was just the sentiment behind the mask comment."