Public Outcry Ensues After Waiter Is Fired For Posting Homophobic Diner's Receipt

Photographed by Alice Gao.

Typically, when a nasty comment appears on a receipt, the person who put it there who suffers the consequences. Take, for example, the Panera Bread employee who got fired earlier this year after referring to a customer as a "stupid bitch."

A North Carolina restaurant chain, however, has taken the opposite approach. As Grub Street reports, management at the Sun Valley/Indian Trail branch of Hickory Tavern in North Carolina fired a server after a customer receipt he shared online went viral. The waiter, identified only as Justin S., posted a (since-deleted) photo of a receipt on which a homophobic diner scribbled "Our gay waiter made me wanna throw up my food! Ruined my experience tonight. Will not be back!”

"Read the ignorance," the server commented. He obscured the customer's details, but not the Hickory Tavern name or location.

The restaurant chain told The Charlotte Observer that the waiter was fired for violating a confidentiality policy prohibiting employees from sharing customers' receipts and personal information.

The dismissal prompted the server's friend, Lucia Stetson, to share his original post and drum up support.

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Stetson's post prompted outrage and threatens to boycott Hickory Tavern. That may explain why the restaurant, according to its interview with The Charlotte Observer, decided to soften its stance on "Justin S." by reportedly offering him his job back.

“We strongly condemn the insults directed at one of our team members in remarks left by a patron on their credit card receipt,” Hickory Tavern told the paper. “We value diversity and do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or for any other reason. We also value the privacy of our patrons, and posting of credit card receipts violates our confidentiality policy.

“Although the team member was initially terminated for violating this policy, after further discussions with the team member, we made the decision to offer his job back. We strive to strike the right balance between supporting our team members and protecting the private information of our guests.”

It's unclear if the offer was accepted. Either way, good on this guy for calling out bigotry. No job is worth putting up with those insults.