St Louis waitress sacked for exposing a penny-pinching pastor

RATHER than leave a tip after a meal in a St Louis restaurant – Applebee’s – pastor Alois Bell, who runs the Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries church, scrawled on the bill:

I give God 10% why do you get 18

Then she scratched out the tip, wrote a zero against the “additional tip” section and added the word “pastor” above her signature.

Bill and Bell (inset)

Bill and Bell (inset)

All went pear-shaped for Bell when waitress Chelsea Welch photographed the document and shared it online, where it immediately went viral.

According to The Consumerist, Welch wasn’t the waitress who served Bell and her post-church service party.

In a statement, Applebee’s spokesperson Dan Smith reported that “our franchisee has apologized to the Guest” for violating the patron’s “right to privacy.” The individual responsible for the leak “is no longer employed by the franchise,” Smith added.

Bell, 37, said that the online firestorm created by the receipt has left her stunned.

My heart is really broken. I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.

Bell said her notation on the receipt was a:

Lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion.

Despite scratching out the tip added to the bill, Bell claimed that she left a $6 tip in cash, adding that she subsequently discovered the 18 percent gratuity had been charged to her credit card.

Bell said she learned that a copy of the receipt was online when a friend called to say she was:

All over Yahoo. You went viral!

In response, she called Applebee’s to complain about that her receipt had been made public, and this was made worse as it included her easy-to-read signature.

A mother of three, Bell heads the 15-member storefront church, She said she has a separate full-time job – which she declined to describe  – and tithes 10 percent of her earnings to the church.

In addition to her fledgling ministry, Bell has authored three slim books – covering topics like fasting, prayer, and religious teaching – that are available for purchase through an online vanity press. One 28-page volume examines spiritual nourishment, complete with references to candy and junk food. The $10 paperback is titled Watch the Hand that Feeds You.

According to her biography, Bell:

Gave her life to Christ in 1997 while she was pregnant and homeless with her youngest son.

Living at the time in a Catholic homeless shelter, Bell recalled that she was laying in her bed one afternoon when:

The Lord touched her heart and she invited him in.

Hat tip: FarStars & Pete H