Being a waitress can be hard work even on a good day. Being a waitress and having to deal with overt bigotry? That's even harder. Just ask Taylor Stewart, a waitress at an IHOP in Enid, OK who had to deal with patron who was both homophobic and a terrible tipper.
The man, who'd come to the IHOP with his three children, wasn't the easiest customer to serve—something Stewart initially assumed was due to her having had to correct a mistake in his order. "I messed up one of the things on the order," she said to news station WQAD. "So, I mean I fixed that. No problem, and he was just kind of being rude to me the whole time. I told him I was sorry about the service."
When Stewart went to clean up the table, however, she learned the man's rudeness wasn't the result of poor service. Instead, where an ordinary customer would have left a tip on the $36 bill, he'd written simply, "Gay is wrong!"
"When I went to pick up the check, I read it and I thought it said 'gray is wrong', and I went and showed my girlfriend, and she was like, 'what?' And she said it said `gay is wrong',” Stewart told news station KFOR. “I was just shocked. I was more shocked than hurt, but I mean it did hurt."
Fortunately, the homophobia displayed by Stewart's mystery customer led to an outpouring of support from the community. “People are telling me they’re going to come in [to the IHOP] and ask for me,” she told Enidnews.com, which reported that Stewart also received an unsigned card containing $10 inside, and an inspiring message inside:
Dear Taylor, I just saw an article on Facebook about what happened to you Monday. I am sure it hurt you and even though I cannot change that, I hope this will bring you some joy. God calls us to love, not judge. I put myself through college waiting tables. It is hard work and impossible to not make a mistake occasionally. Here is your tip and I hope your week gets better.
Stewart has been at the IHOP for seven months, and likes the work. "I`m a people person and that`s why I have this job because I love people," she told WQAD. "I like to serve them and, you know, make them happy."