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03rd Jun 2024

Restaurant takes legal action against diner over $3,000 waitress tip

Charlie Herbert

Alfredo's Cafe takes legal action against diner over $3,000 waitress tip

It wasn’t long before things took a turn

A restaurant has resorted to taking legal action after a diner left a $3,000 tip – which he later decided to try and take back.

In June 2022, Mariana Lambert, a waitress at Alfredo’s Cafe in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was left amazed after diner Eric Smith left a huge $3,000 tip on a meal that had cost him just $13.

Smith had only ordered a stromboli, but decided to leave the staggering tip. Despite staff’s obvious suspicions at first, the payment went through, with Smith apparently saying he left the payment as part of a social media movement called ‘Tips for Jesus’.

The restaurant took all the necessary steps to ensure the payment was legitimate, and waited 30 days to make an announcement about what seemed to be an outstanding gesture of generosity.

Mariana Lambert was the lucky member of staff who received the tip (WNEP)

Lambert explained: “It really meant a lot to me because everyone’s going through stuff. It really touched my heart. I still can’t believe it. I’m still in shock.”

But a few weeks later, Smith got in touch with the restaurant “disputing” the tip.

Eric Smith initially said he left the tip as part of a social media movement called ‘Tips for Jesus’ (WNEP)

Alfredo’s Cafe manager Zachary Jacobson said: “A little over a month ago, we received something in the mail that Eric was disputing the charge for the tip that he left.”

He added: “We thought somebody was actually trying to do a good thing. And then now we are, what, three months later? Not even, and there’s nothing. There’s nothing to show for it at this point.”

The restaurant had already paid Lambert the money, and ended up $3,000 out of pocket, WNEP reports.

After initially getting in touch with Lambert in the hope that the whole thing was some sort of misunderstanding, the restaurant continued to talk to him over Facebook.

But eventually, they stopped responding to his messages and decided to file charges against him.

Jacobson said: “It’s just a little aggravating right now. It’s been causing a lot of nonsense and drama.

“Unfortunately, we had to file charges through the magistrate’s office because now we’re just out of this money at this point. And he told us to sue him, so that’s what we’re going to end up doing, I guess.”

The restaurant hope there is enough proof for a judge to rule in their favour that the tip should be upheld, but whatever the outcome, their feelings have been tarnished by the saga.

“I hope that he owns up to his actions and comes forth and does pay this because you shouldn’t have done this if this was the end result,” Jacobsen said.

At the time of writing, there does not appear to have been any update on the case.

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