Server Complained She Only Got A $10 Tip From A Table Of 21 — But She Wound Up Making Thousands More

The gesture was lovely, but servers shouldn't have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Last updated on May 15, 2024

upset waitress after receiving low tips Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

Nobody understands how crucial tip money is unless they work in the food industry. However, some customers don't see the point in tipping. 

While it's not a requirement, it's a respectable gesture, especially when you have a large party and a server breaking their back to bring out endless drink and meal orders. 

One waitress vented her frustrations after taking on a large group of customers only to receive a measly tip for all of her strenuous work. That’s when social media decided to do its thing and reward the woman with the money she rightfully deserved.


A server revealed that she was only tipped $10 by a party of 21 for a $350 check. 

Spotlight Shanell shared her waitressing horror story. She explained that a table of 21 was seated in her section, proving to be difficult right from the start. "Right now I have a table full of church people that are about to send me to [the abyss]...," she began her video. 

@spotlightshanell and got the nerve to be impatient….I need them to get THE FCKKKK 😭 #spotlightshanell #fyp #serverlife ♬ original sound - Spotlight Shanell 💕

Shanell explained that when the party arrived, it originally consisted of 13 people. However, they began adding others to their reservation, pulling chairs from other tables. 


It took an hour for the entire group to sit, and they refused to put in any of their orders, including drinks, until then. But that was just a small taste of what was to come for Shanell.

RELATED: Man Faces Backlash For Saying 'Tipping Is Optional' And It's Messed Up To Shame Non-Tippers

"We're telling them, 'We might not be able to sit all of you at the same table because you said it was gonna be 13 people,'" Shanell said. But the party refused to listen and continued to pull chairs over until their group reached 21 people in total. 

Once the party was seated and settled, they began rushing her to bring out their orders. Still, she tried her best to have patience with them, as they were an older group of people. 


The one thing propelling her forward was the hope of receiving a generous tip, despite Shanell claiming that the customers were getting on her last nerve. When the time finally came and the server collected the check from the table after they paid, she was in disbelief at the tip they left her.

"Y'all I'm about to scream," she said in a follow-up video that depicted the patrons' tab. The bill totaled roughly $350, meaning that an appropriate tip would be around $70, a 20% tip. However, she reveals that the party only tipped her $10. 

@spotlightshanell Replying to @user9334915292224 bro… im finna quit. And this man is a MINISTER!!!! #spotlightshanell #fyp #serverlife ♬ original sound - Spotlight Shanell 💕

Perhaps the most shocking part of it all was that the individual who grabbed the check was a Church minister, someone who preaches kindness and giving back. 


RELATED: Server Says That Customers Gave Him A 'Negative' Tip Before Sneaking Out Of The Restaurant

Other users were disgusted by the party's treatment of their hard-working server and came to Shanell's defense. 

“People who don't tip do the most and ask for too much. There should be a table just for them," one person commented. Another chimed in, "Why do people feel they can abuse workers by not tipping them? 21 people who arrived over an hour late? People know they should do better!" 

Shanell’s video quickly caught the attention of social media users who wanted to help her out and make up for the money she lost.

One of those users was Jolly Good Ginger, whose real name is Russell "Jolly" Ellis. He felt outraged on the server’s behalf, taking it upon himself to make his own since-deleted video detailing the situation, calling on followers to send donations Shanell's way. 


"Now, I'm an Atheist, but shouldn't a group of church folks be loving and giving?" he pointed out. "She was with these people for an hour and a half, waiting on hand and foot for them to make $10? Here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna do what the Church couldn't."

Ellis shared a screenshot from the comments section of Shanell's video where she revealed her cash app account to another user. He called on everyone who watched his video to send a dollar her way. 

He also acknowledged that corporations are failing their hardworking servers by underpaying them, and that while customers should not be expected to tip them enough money to make a living, acts of compassion go a long way. 

RELATED: Server Complains After Tourists Only Leave A 10% Tip On $700 Check After Saying They Were ‘Over The Moon’ About Her Service


Within hours, Shanell received thousands of dollars from strangers.

While at brunch with her friends the next day, Shanell said that her phone started "blowing up" with cash app notifications. She was overwhelmed by the amount of money she received, and assured those who felt as if they did not give enough that she was grateful for any amount. 

@spotlightshanell I don’t even have the words…. 🥹 Thank yall so much. Wow wow wow #spotlightshanell #fyp ♬ original sound - Spotlight Shanell 💕

"I don't even have the words. Thank you all so much! Wow wow wow," she captioned her video, sharing the happy news. She also revealed that brunch drinks for her and her friends were her treat thanks to her new earnings.

Shanell posted a separate video thanking Ellis, saying, “The influence that people have on social media combined with God… is just so overwhelming… thank you, thank you, thank you!"

@spotlightshanell #stitch with @jolly_good_ginger omg omg omg thank you so much!!! this is unreal!!!!!! #spotlightshanell #fyp ♬ original sound - Spotlight Shanell 💕

RELATED: Woman Claims She Was Denied Service At A Restaurant Because She Was With A 'Non-Tipping' Friend

Shanell's situation had a happy ending, but servers shouldn't have to rely on the kindness of strangers to make ends meet.

It's no surprise that servers rely on tips to make money. And with expenses skyrocketing and minimum wages barely enough to afford a decent living, many servers highly depend on tip money to make livable earnings. 

Though Shanell's story had an amazing ending thanks to the help of strangers from all over the world, it's not a common occurrence, nor should servers have to rely on others to pay them what they are owed. 


Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but that does not include servers. The minimum wage for tipped employees is a measly $2.13 per hour, and though it varies on a state by state basis, the truth of the matter is that having to depend on tips isn't a reasonable way for servers or any food industry workers to live.

Instead, the focus should be on raising the minimum wage across the board to keep up with inflation, especially since it hasn't been raised since 2009! 

According to the Hill, "A minimum wage employee earning $7.25 an hour who is working full-time earns about $15,080 (which is just $20 more than the poverty level). That annual salary from 2009 would need to grow to around $21,870 today just to keep up with the rising cost of goods and services."


It seems like we still have a long way to go.

RELATED:  A New Study Reveals How Servers Can Convince Customers To Tip More Based On A Simple Trick

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.