Shaina Brown is a single mother who works two jobs to support her three kids, so when a patron at the Waffle House where she works said, “I’m going to bless you tonight,” and gave her a $1,000 tip, she was ecstatic.

But Waffle House wouldn’t process the tip.

“I feel like they stole from me,” Brown told the Charlotte Observer. “They did exactly what they teach us not to do.”

(Source: Shutterstock)

(Source: Shutterstock)

Reporter Josh Shaffer claims to have tracked down the big-tipping customer, who asked to remain anonymous and confirmed that he had given Brown a $1,500 tip on his credit card, with instructions that $1,000 was to be for Brown and $500 was to go to another Waffle House patron, a nearby “haggard-looking woman.”

“You have a good spirit,” Brown recalled the man saying to her.

A Waffle House spokesperson told Shaffer that it’s standard procedure to deny oversized credit card tips, saying that if a customer wishes to leave a large gratuity, they’re asked to do it with cash or a check.

According to the spokesperson, the policy is in place in case the customer later tries to dispute the bill.

Shaffer declared that justification “weak,” and speculated that Waffle House’s “roadblocks to charity” policy could be meant to avoid transaction fees or it could, more likely, be mere laziness.

“It’s easier to disappoint a hard-working waitress than lift an extra finger and maybe ruffle a feather or two up the corporate ladder,” Shaffer wrote.

This is not the first time an enormous tip hasn’t come through — last September a bartender’s $200,000 tip went nowhere, since the credit card company declined to honor the “excessive payout,” and in 2012 police confiscated a waitress’ $12,000 tip on suspicion that it was drug money and only grudgingly returned the cash.

Generally-speaking, if you want to give a server a large tip, you’re better off using cash or a check than putting it on a card.

For his part, the anonymous tipper said he plans to write Brown a check for the $1,000, though the other woman he’d meant to help out likely won’t be locatable.

Contacted by TheBlaze, the Waffle House spokesperson reiterated what she had told Shaffer.

“Our intentions were always for the associate to receive her tip,” the spokesperson said in an email. “When a guest makes a tip of this size, it is our procedure to refund the tip amount and ask the guest to make the tip in either cash or a check. We follow this procedure in the event the customer decides to dispute the credit card charge and ask for a refund for the tip amount at a later date.”

The spokesperson added the claim that, “In this case, our management contacted the customer within 24 hours, explained the procedure, and then refunded the tip amount to his account.”

TheBlaze is awaiting clarification on how the restaurant contacted the customer, and whether or how he was encouraged by Waffle House to get in touch with Brown to give her the promised tip, or whether it took Shaffer’s legwork to get Brown her $1,000.

Featured image via Shutterstock

This story has been updated.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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