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Grant Wise and Ryan Brandt, 2021 | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS
Grant Wise and Ryan Brandt, 2021 | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

Waitress Receives $4,400 Tip to Be Shared with Co-worker and Is Later Fired by Restaurant Owner

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 11, 2023
10:30 A.M.

What began as a happy moment for former waitress Ryan Brandt quickly turned out to be a painful experience after she was fired, shortly after she received a four-figure tip.

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An Arkansas waitress, identified as Ryan Brandt, received a generous tip after waiting tables during an event. However, reports revealed that the life-changing experience was short-lived, as she was fired from the restaurant for refusing to share the money.

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

The generous gratuity was awarded on December 6, 2021, when Brandt and her colleague worked a party of more than forty at Oven & Tap in Bentonville. Each diner chipped in at least $100 in tip money, believing the total amount which amounted to $4,400 would go to both servers.

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

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The money Brandt received was put together by a businessman who wished to give back to people over the festive season. The man gathered other realtors to Brandt's restaurant and handed her the money.

The Story Behind the Generous Tip

During an interview, the president and founder of Witly, Grant Wise, said that during the COVID-19 period, servers were hit hard. So his company came up with a way to give back. The generous man added:

"To be able to stand right there, next to her, and let her know what people, that she had no clue who they were, from out of the country had done, it was an amazing, amazing feeling."

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

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Wise had thought of something special to do for someone during the holiday season, and his company decided to host a conference for realtors in Northwest Arkansas. So, the group went to the restaurant to eat and make someone's day.

Instead, the waitress was fired from the restaurant the following day.

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Realtor Rebeca Soto said Wise wanted to put all their efforts together to bless someone in the community. Eventually, Brandt and her colleague turned out to be the lucky duo. However, things did not turn out well after the kind gesture.

How Did Things Go Wrong for Brandt?

When the restaurant's manager learned about the tip, he insisted that Brandt share it with her colleagues who did not serve at the large party. According to the waitress, the manager told her to hand over the cash and return home with only twenty percent.

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Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Grant Wise giving Ryan Brandt her large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville at Oven & Tap on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

The information reached Wise, and he phoned the restaurant, demanding that Brandt's tip of $2,200 be returned to her in full, but they refused. Instead, the waitress was fired from the restaurant the following day. Brandt told 5NEWS:

"They fired me from Oven and Tap over the phone, and I've been there for three and a half years, and that was heartbreaking, especially when I didn't think I did anything wrong."

Oven & Tap's statement addressing Ryan Brandt's large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Oven & Tap's statement addressing Ryan Brandt's large tip in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

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After Brandt was fired, the restaurant released a statement noting that the waitress was fired for reasons unrelated to the tipping incident. The statement further read:

"Out of respect for our valued team members, we do not discuss the details surrounding the termination of an employee."

Ryan Brandt addressing the large tip she got from Oven & Tap patrons in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Ryan Brandt addressing the large tip she got from Oven & Tap patrons in a 5NEWS clip in Bentonville on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Mollie Mullis and Luke Wetzel, Oven & Tap's owners, also claimed that their company had "always participated in a tip share." However, when Wise alerted them to wanting their generous tip to only go to the people who served them, the duo said they honored his request.

Pooling tips together was a policy the establishment always upheld. Wetzel and Mullis claimed their restaurant is always committed to giving quality and fair compensation to its team members. Their normal "tip out" policy reportedly covered other team members.

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Oven & Tap in Bentonville where Grant Wise gave Ryan Brandt a large tip. The story was covered in a 5NEWS clip on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

Oven & Tap in Bentonville where Grant Wise gave Ryan Brandt a large tip. The story was covered in a 5NEWS clip on December 11, 2021 | Source: YouTube/5NEWS

The goal was to ensure all those who helped make patrons' dining experience a success—the bartenders, kitchen staff, food runners, etc.—were also compensated. In response to the restaurant's statement, Wise started a GoFundMe page for Brandt, which raised a whopping $18,367 after he reopened it!

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Some people who donated shared their opinions on the matter. One person revealed how they'd worked as a prep cook and dishwasher and knew how "unfair and wicked" the restaurant industry's chefs and managers are to workers, adding:

"Karma will come to these owners when no one ever eats there again and they close down!"

Someone else said they hoped Brandt received lots of job offers. They also wished the waitress got to work in a restaurant that appreciated all her good work.

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

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User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

User comment dated December 14, 2021 | Source: GoFundMe

User comment dated December 14, 2021 | Source: GoFundMe

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

User comment on the viral YouTube video | Source: YouTube.com/5NEWS

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User comment dated December 14, 2021 | Source: GoFundMe

User comment dated December 14, 2021 | Source: GoFundMe

The former waitress said she was grateful, as the money was essential in paying her student loans. Although Brandt is not working with the restaurant anymore, she is lucky to have people who love her and support her in any way possible.

If you enjoyed her story, maybe you'll like this one about another waitress who got a large tip but didn't get the money because her employer decided to keep it.

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