A bartender in Michigan has turned a $100 tip into over $5,500 for charity after a customer bashed the establishment’s face mask mandate in a profanity-laced rant. The customer later apologized and left the gratuity, inspiring the server to pay it forward for others.
Sara Austin was working at McCarty’s North 40 in Paw Paw on Friday night when a customer berated her over having to wear a mask, WOOD-TV reports.
“[He was] swearing, calling me names and made it into some sort of political stance,” the bartender recalled.
Austin began filming, and video footage of the man’s critical tirade has since been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook.
The employee received backup from her boss and other customers, and the disgruntled patron left the sports bar and grill without further issue.
Austin said that she circulated the videos to remind others to be courteous to those who work in the service industry.
“There are people everywhere and going through this kind of behavior while they’re working and it’s not fair,” Austin explained. “You’re in my office now and you’re going to come to my office and treat me that way — it’s horrifying.”
Soon after the footage hit social media, customer Bob Luyendyk returned to McCarty’s to apologize.
Austin reportedly refused to see him, so the man left behind an apology note and a hundred bucks.
“I want to apologize for the way I acted last night. I had a bad week, just trying to make ends meet like you are! I support small business like this bar and know you don’t need any extra headaches like last night,” the letter read. “So I am also saying sorry to your staff and making sure the bill is paid. I do care about people and that was not who I am. It will not happen again.”
Though Austin remains unsure if she’s going to accept Luyendyk’s apology, she didn’t want to accept the money for herself. Instead, the woman took the $100 tip and matched it with $100 of her own, donating it to the YWCA of Kalamazoo.
Better yet, Austin has since created a Facebook fundraiser for the local YWCA, which has raised over $5,500 in just three days.
“I have decided to try to turn this into a positive situation by donating and also matching his money to the other women whose voices are not always heard as loudly as mine has been,” the server recalled of the upsetting incident. “Please share and let’s see if we can turn this awful behavior into something that can help others.
“Thank you to everyone who has shared the video and supported us through this and please try to remember to be kind to people.”’