7 Things Wrong With Pastor Alois Bell’s Tip: ‘I Give God 10 Percent, Why Do You Get 18′

You’ve heard the story by now: an Applebee’s diner signed her check “pastor” after scribbling out a suggested tip and writing “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?” Well, she’s come forward, and possibly embarrassed the Christian Church even more. Here are 7 reasons why.

A North Carolina waitress named Chelsea posted this image of a no-tipping pastor's comment on Reddit.

A St. Louis, Mo., waitress named Chelsea posted this image of a no-tipping pastor’s comment on Reddit. (Photo: Reddit/gateflan)

7. Making God accountable for an automated minimum tip. The pastor, identified as Alois Bell, wrote on the Applebee’s receipt: “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?” — Would the Lord really begrudge a service worker a tip, so you can give him your tithe in self-satisfaction?

6. Bell had the nerve to write “pastor” on her receipt — as if this was to give her nasty note authority or weight. Instead, it showed that she is perhaps not qualified to be leading anyone, if the message she left behind is any indication that she might be thoughtless, ignorant and immature.

5. Pastor Bell’s flock of the faithful consists of 15 people and they rent a store front; plus, Bell is a mother of 3; also, she has a full-time job; and she used to be homeless. You can figure that one out.

[Updated Feb. 5, 2013] Since a number of readers have questioned my point with No. 5, let me explain. I hold the opinion that every single one of these aspects of Pastor Bell’s life – her small congregation, the fact that she’s a mother three times over, works full time while serving her church and was once homeless – would result in a person with a humble attitude and gracious heart. The note Pastor Bell left was devoid of both humility and grace.

4. But not for nothing, I’ve seen entire neighbors of these store-front churches…lined up right next to each other sharing walls. How much do you want to bet that God did not call anyone to open a church of 15 next door to a church of 7, across the street from a church of 9? I dare say if Paul or Peter saw something like this, they would tell them to have one house in common for worship.

3. While Bell insists that she did leave a $6 tip in cash for her Applebee’s server, she called up the restaurant to complain. And the waitress who posted the evidence of her sin reportedly was “immediately fired.” I understand, the waitress was thoughtless in not considering the pastor’s signature could be identified…although she edited the image of the receipt to cut that part out, her original photo post was already making the rounds online.

2. Pastor Bell presumably collects offering from her flock of 15 and pockets a portion of it as her pay. Offerings and tithes are voluntary offerings…and in this case viewed as donations to help support a minister serving God’s flock. So whose money really is she tithing to the Lord?

1. Atheists already think Christians are loopy, hypocritical, unreasonable and unkind — and this just gives them further “evidence.” Thank you, Pastor Bell, for leaving behind an excellent witness for Christ.

In addition to repenting for her unkind note, I hope Pastor Bell has apologized before her flock and informed them that she showed poor judgment that they are not to emulate. I also hope, while she was yelling at Applebee’s about her identity being revealed online, she found the time to apologize to the waiter for whom she left this awesome testimony note of God’s mercy and compassion begrudging nature.

[see recent post on a reader's response to this list]

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  • Cowboy Coder

    I hope everyone commenting on this story was aware that:

    1. Chelsea Welch was shown the receipt by another server. She did not serve the table, never saw the customers there, did not know Alois Bell’s correct gender (she thought the customer was a man), and did not get the full story before fabricating her accounting of what happened.

    2. According to Applebees, Alois Bell was charged the full 18% tip, crossing it out does nothing.

    3. According to Alois Bell, she left the tip in cash on the table, meaning her total tip was 36% not 0%. It is not an uncommon practice to leave the tip in cash and most servers say they prefer cash tips.

    Impressive work though with this story by the internet hate machine on destroying someone’s life. A lot like the Salem witch trials.

  • jeannette

    This customer was rude, but the employee violated her employer’s terms of agreement when she posted this receipt on the net. Applebees can be held legally liable for violating a customer’s privacy. Too bad the worker didn’t black out this woman’s name. It still would have made a great story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.surgenor.31 Jim Surgenor

    I am not saying that any of us have the answers, but in my opinion I feel that is it only appropriate to show someone gratitude for serving me well. It is common fact, and every American should know, that the average tip for good service at a restaurant is 15% or more. The tip should mirror the service. If someone does not have enough money to leave an average tip for average or exceptional service then they should be ashamed to leave nothing. It is an obysmal act for someone who is supposed to be a leader of the Christian walk to live as anything less than that. I know that none of us are perfect and we all will make mistakes and have lapses in judgement, but this Pastor has not even bothered to apologize to this waitress for her irresponsible actions. The only thing she was sorry for was the shame she placed upon the Church. She is not accountable and to me that is pathetic and cowardly. She did not discuss her disagreement with the policy to the management of the facility, instead she chose to take her ANGER out on a defenseless waitress who has no decision making abilities. To me that is the making of a coward and should be met with the judgement of society. The “pastor” is reaping this seed she has sown. Now she must eat the fruit it bares.

  • Kim

    You all need to get a grip that had issues with #5! Use your spiritual discernment!!! Oh, you don’t have any. Since you are still drinking milk and not ready to eat meat be quiet if you do not understand. #5 is a warning: “Caution, scam artist ahead!” Remember if you seek any recognition for your giving, you have already received your reward….

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  • horace

    It is not necessary to tie Bell’s comments to her unfortunate past and conclude they are linked. It should suffice to say that she made a significant error.

  • ami adkins

    So sad that this woman claims to represent a god of love and goodness when her own actions and life speak to petty discrimination’s that ultimately cost a hard working woman a job. What a hypocrite this “pastor” is.

  • Harry

    Like, the other poster, I’m an atheist too… and I’m especially glad this happened. While there are many decent, loving and caring human beings who also consider themselves people of faith, the sooner we can shake off these millenia old superstitions and start living as human beings (flawed, and imperfect, with just one life to do it in) the better.

    This is just another example of proof of the non-existence of any deity – that is, unless his goal all along is to make his “all-knowing-plan” even more difficult to understand, and we poor poor imperfect humans should trust the shamans, errr pastors who will guide us with their wisdom… for a small donation and fear of hellfire.

    Ever since the bible was translated from latin so the common man and woman could read it, more and more versions of “the one true faith” crop up – as we continue to grow up as a human race, and learn to not be afraid to question – more and more will see it for what it truly is: a plagiarism riddled book of myths and stories aimed at a nomadic desert people over 2000 years ago.

    Not to say that there isn’t some value in reading it – for example, “Judge not lest ye be judged” – sad that it’s one verse that many of those who call themselves christians seem very bad at remembering.

  • Liz-Ashleigh

    I’m an atheist and doing a project on Alois Bell for my journalism class. I’m glad no Christians agree with her, or those who do are not actually representing what you believe. I hope she’s happy for costing that poor woman her job, since that waitress got a 28% tip at her new job when someone recognized her. I am glad she’s not the representation of all Christians.

  • http://gravatar.com/rebeccavogler rebeccavogler

    I completely agree with your post. However, the editor in me feels the need to point out that your caption erroneously identifies the waitress is from North Carolina. Perhaps that is her home state, but the incident took place in a St. Louis, Missouri Applebee’s – nowhere near North Carolina.

  • bg

    You are SO right. I get tired of hearing non-Christians slamming Christians because they do something wrong or do or say something bad (or un-Chrisitanlike when they are Christians0. There are NO perfect people. Heaven will absolutely be full of sinners. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect. What it, hopefully, does is to TRY to help people to live a more Christ-like life and to ask for forgiveness when they don’t. Saying and doing stupid things doesn’t make you a better person but being a Chrisitan will make you realize your mistake and ask for forgiveness.

  • notalois

    You can become a “Pastor” on-line in the USA. Then, you can leverage tax reductions and be “important”. Sad. Repenting will not get the waitress’s job back but the backlash against Applebee’s will cost them much more than the $6 in question. Everyone loses thanks to shewhomustnotbenamed.

  • Patrick

    I agree with most of your points but point #5 is plain awful in my eyes.
    Before I go any further, not agreeing with this point is in no way an endorsement of Pastor Alois’ behavior.
    So here goes:
    1) Who is to judge what an adequate sized church should be? Matthew 18:20 — For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
    2) What is wrong with being a mother?
    3) What is wrong with having a job. If she is indeed running a small church, quite possibly with members that are not affluent, she would indeed need to have a job.
    4) So she was homeless once, what exactly is your point? Had it been someone else, who came to know the Lord, and was once homeless, it would be an amazing testimony. I don’t understand how you stack all of these life circumstances against her like we are in any way worthy to judge them.

    I would be at ease if you simply admitted that these points are unfair. However, I am gravely concerned about the image you present of Christians if you stick to these points as you have written them…all while ironically condemning Bell for presenting a bad image of Christianity.

    • http://www.christculturenews.com CCN Admin

      Hi, Patrick, thanks for the comments. I have added an updated note to point five to explain my perspective.

      As for your points, I think most of them are addressed by my updated note. As for your no. 1, however, I was not critical of Pastor Bell’s congregation size. I am however critical of “two or three gathering” individually across the street from each other in multiple groups, as I have seen in some places — literally 6-7 churches with no more than about a dozen worshippers each on the exact same block, and often sharing walls… and these are all Christian congregations, albeit of different denominations.

      Also, Patrick, I never “condemned” anyone. I don’t have that authority or power — only God does. I do unequivocally condemn Pastor Bell’s actions.

      • Patrick

        Thank you for updating. Clarifying this point was important to me because it did not sit well with me initially.
        Regarding what you were condemning, you should look at your words in point 5. They were directed at Pastor Bell the person and had nothing to do with her actions regarding the tip. Words can be terrible weapons.
        As for these store front churches, I don’t see them as very different than home churches. People allow the tiniest differences come between them and thus divide themselves.

        I still thank you for this list.

    • Mel Clark

      I believe the comment #5 was made to illustrate that as a person who is a mother and once was homeless but now apparently has a home, a job, a church and a flock and is financially able to afford to eat out now and then should be considerate of other working people and pay the minimum expected gratuity unless there was exceptionally poor service. Apparently this PASTOR thinks much too highly of herself and not enough of others. I would NEVER attend a service lead by her.

  • Disappointed

    This pastor sounds SHADY!! Getting benefits as a non-profit on a church with only 15 parishoners?? Then keeping a tip from a hard working person who makes $3.5 an hour…….really? Just another reason to believe in religion, but not church. So unchristian-like.

  • americanivory

    so where is the IRS investigating “Pastor” Alois Bell pocketing half of the donations as her pay? Let a little kid have a lemonade stand and they are all over them! IRS are you ther – investigate this crook – now. Applebee’s apologize to your waitress online and give her the job back! Shame on you “pastor” – get out of business now!

  • Pingback: Steven Tran | No Winners: Applebee’s, Pastor Bell, and Jesus

  • http://None Lorrie Herzberg

    Once I got past my reaction to Alois Bells appalling behavior, another thought came to mind: “Let the first stone be cast by one who is without sin.” Unlike major corporations who ruin people’s lives without remorse, Bell has apologized; her sermon topic for Sunday was to be on sin and redemption. The cause of justice is not served by judging the repentant.

    • Foible

      But what does repentant mean in this situation? The waitress is still out of a job, Applebee’s is still being hammered on line. Has there even been a token attempt to make the other parties injured by Pastor Bell whole again?

      Does being repentant let you off the hook for the damage you’ve done? That sounds very Christian but not very Christ-like.

    • rayvenwolf

      Whats left out is the fact Bell wanted EVERYONE fired. She’s no Christian and she’s not remorseful. She’s sorry things did go the way she wanted in her bid to go viral. Bell essentially set this waitress up to post the receipt.

    • PhoenixM

      She apologized for the bad attention she brought to her church. She NEVER apologized for getting that woman fired.

  • DS

    I’m an atheist who ran across your site while googling Alois Bell. I never assumed she spoke for the majority of Christians, and I’m happy to see an article from a Christian source that is also critical of her behavior. She used her religion as an excuse to cheap out, but I don’t think that reflects on your religion as a whole.

    • http://www.christculturenews.com CCN Admin

      Hi, DS. Thanks for sharing, it’s appreciated.

    • anonomot

      i’m jewish and also found your site through a google search for alois bell.
      personally, i believe that religion is a private choice and should not be foisted on anyone, both though proselytizing (jewish) AND evangelizing (christian). i live in manhattan, and cannot tell you how many times i have been accosted by orthodox hasisds, christians of all sorts, and even jews for jesus (don’t even get me started on them!). to be clear, i am not against faith or anyone’s religious beliefs. i admire people with faith, even though i am not one of them. i just don’t think it should be anybody else’s business.

      as a jew, i find it equally reprehensible that this pastor decided to ram her religious beliefs down the throat of a poor waitress, who might not even be christian, as i do the withholding of her tip. pastor bell’s complaint had nothing to do with ms. welch, or apparently her service, and who was certainly not responsible for applebee’s gratuity policy.

      in light of your article, i find it extremely commendable and heartening to hear other christian organizations condemning alois bell’s egregious and unchristian behaviour.

      i may not be christian, or even particularly religious, but i applaud you for representing honest and decent christian values. i can only hope that the majority of chrisitans agree with you.

  • Chris

    Thall shalt not tip an Applebees waitess more than 10% saith Pastor Alois Bell. Also, vengeance is mine saith the lord is no longer applicable since she used vengeance to get her fired and attempted to get more fired. She’s a great win for the Christian community.

  • Yes, I said it

    If she is an example of who is going to be in heaven I don’t want to go.

    • Danny

      I guess you (or me, or the author of this article) would be a better example of the people who are going to be in heaven?

      Guys, heaven is not going to be full of perfect people. We’ve all done bad things and been bad people. Heaven is going to be full of people who admit their wrongs, and come to God to be redeemed.

  • Colleen

    What a miserable, uncharitable [removed by CCN]. She gives Christian’s a really bad name. Waitresses survive on tips, not salaries like her, and then she still has the audacity to get the waitress fired, because the whole world now sees her miserly nature. I hope she gets fired for bringing her church into disrepute!

  • John Mayo

    “Pastor” Alois Bell sounds like an [removed by CCN]. She supposedly tithes so therefor she doesn’t have to tip? Where’s the logic in that? Does Jesus want waiters and waitresses to work for free? People like Alois Bell are the worst type of people in the world.

  • Caralee

    Wow, number 5 of this article is more arrogant than Pastor Bell’s note on the receipt. Figure that out. Then in number 4 you presume to know the mind of God. Now you are contributing to atheists’ negative perceptions of Christians. Way to be an excellent witness.

    • http://www.christculturenews.com CCN Admin

      Hi, Caralee. Thanks for the comments.

      No. 5 comes across as “arrogant” to you, while to others it might indicate that someone with those life experiences might be a bit more humble, or thoughtful.

      And with No. 4, there’s no presumption to know God’s mind. That deduction is based on common sense and Scripture’s indication that God is not a god of disorder.

      • Danny

        No, it definitely came off as arrogant. I’m not so sure that your “explanation” cleared up the original intent of the post, either.

        • JoeInternet

          Danny sounds like a relative is ‘Pastor’ Bell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/loganbabe2000 Jennifer Logan

    How cruel

  • Jennifer

    I have been trying for years to at least get my husband to go to church, it is stories like this that always leave him with the somewhat valid argument the church, the pastors, and the people that attend are nothing but a conspiracy. Thanks to this woman those who have true faith look foolish and those who do not have even,ore reason to back further away!

  • Angry mat

    Any god that this women represents is a sham and nothing I would want a part of.

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