A restaurant in Lynchburg, Virginia, is facing strong backlash for a post they made on Facebook criticizing one customer’s payment method.
Cohen Naulty, a 17-year-old server at Country Kitchen, wanted to treat his friends to lunch at nearby restaurant Beer 88 using tips he had earned at work.
Most of Naulty’s tips were in quarters, so he paid for the $45 meal tab and left a $10 tip using quarters and a single $20 bill. He didn’t think anything of it — until he realized his payment had been made fun of in a Facebook post by the restaurant itself.
In the post, Beer 88 captioned the photo of Naulty’s payment with “How NOT to pay at a restaurant,” calling the amount of change “ridiculousness” and making hashtags like “we are beer 88 not coin star” and “anybody need change.”
Naulty spoke to local news station WSET in response, saying, “It’s just U.S. currency. I’m allowed to use it. It’s not Illegal. I’m not doing anything wrong.”
Naulty’s friends also had things to say about the restaurant’s criticism. “We couldn’t believe they posted it on Facebook.”
“They said we didn’t have any home training,” another friend said about the hashtag “no home training” on the post. “That was dirty.”
Beer 88 claimed their post was supposed to be a joke, as they wrote later on their Facebook page: “In response to our earlier post, it was posted as a joke, intended as a joke and should be taken as a joke.”
They continued their statement by saying, “It was posted as a light-hearted way of saying that something like this can be annoying to people that work in the restaurant/retail industry. In no way did we publicly shame ANYONE for paying OR tipping. We try to keep our page funny and relatable. And had no idea that this would be offensive to anyone.”
The owner of Beer 88, Yao Liu, said she has received threats since the post went live and feels it was blown out of proportion, although she did apologize for it: “On that part, yes, I do apologize.”
Other patrons, such as local Carol Henning, agreed with her. “People kind of hopped on the hate train, which seems to be happening these days.”
Since the incident, Beer 88 has deleted their entire Facebook page, but Cohen Naulty has turned the situation into something positive.
The teen posted on his Facebook page, The Quarter Boy, “This whole thing made me realize how much I love doing this and why… Even if I get made fun of for it!”
Naulty has since started a fundraiser to pay for the meals of others in need using only change, stating that “Paying for someone’s meal can change a really bad day around in just one moment of kindness.”
In just three days, Naulty’s fundraiser has raised nearly $5,000. The teen has posted that he has been “blown away” by all of the donations.
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