To not tip a waitress in America is considered to be extremely rude. Due to the usual low wage that comes with the job many heavily rely on generous tips to make bills at the end of the month.
Which is why Samantha Heaton, a waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockford, Illinois, was surprised to find that not only had she not been tipped by the family of five she’d been serving, but they also left her note on the receipt explaining why.
"Can't tip someone who doesn't love Jesus! Bad tatoo [sic],” they wrote.
Samantha, who has a tattoo of two rainbow-coloured equality bars on her arm, was completely taken aback by the cruel note.
“It was shocking. I couldn’t help but feel hurt,” Samantha told the BBC.
“I would’ve openly discussed my tattoo with them, had they asked. I talked to them about their food. They kept me constantly busy, but were not openly rude to me. I’ve never had someone write anything like this.”
Taking to Facebook on 6 August, Samantha’s friend Joelle Nicole Maish shared a photo of the receipt beside her tattoo which has since gone viral.
“I would just like to say that being gay does NOT MEAN you don't believe in God or Jesus. And people who are "religious" should not disrespect or act in such ways to other people. p.s., they spelled tattoo wrong.”
Many social media users have shared their support:
Samantha’s girlfriend, Alyssa Christina, also took to Facebook to share her anger at the incident.
“My girlfriend is so much more than a tattoo. She is THEE most amazing human I know. I bet she went above and beyond for you just for you to stiff her. I'm sure you seen her tattoo as she introduced herself, why not just ask for another server? Instead you let her serve you so that you could leave this ugly comment. No need to be rude because she is who she is. You believe in God? I couldn't tell. She'll still come home with a smile on her face. I love you baby. Don't let one ignorant person ruin your night. They ain't got nothing on you anyway. Oh and p.s. if you're going judge at least know how to spell.”
Unfortunately, some social media users have questioned the authenticity of the receipt and Samantha’s intentions.
But Joelle has since taken to Twitter to point out that sharing the post was about spreading awareness – not for financial gain.
"I hope I've been able to bring awareness to this issue of bullying and discrimination," Samantha told the BBC.
"We have a long way to go but love and kindness will thrive in the face of adversity."