Hope comes from the most unexpected places for these minimum wage workers
Matt Sayles, Associated Press
For fast-food workers, a $100 tip is hard to come by.
Unless they were one of the lucky people chosen by the Simple Pickup team earlier this week, which decided to go to fast-food joints and offer $100 tips to the workers.
“The pranksters of Simple Pickup recently held an online fundraiser, but for an unknown reason, the money was returned,” Daily Videos reported. “The bros knew they had to do something special with all the money, so they decided to tip fast-food workers. And not just a small tip, but a $100 tip. Naturally, the minimum-wage workers were simply shocked by the charitable act and even hesitated taking the cash.”
Here were their responses:
The fast-food workers helped by Simple Pickup aren’t the only ones to receive large tips in recent months, though.
A Waffle House waitress recently received a $1,000 tip — though it was at first taken by the restaurant chain before being given back to the waitress — and the "Tips For Jesus" campaign, which leaves anonymous tips for restaurant workers, has rocked the United States for the last few months.
These acts of kindness certainly can’t hurt fast-food and restaurant workers across the country, many of whom are making close to the minimum wage in the United States. In fact, more than 500,000 fast-food cooks in America are making $9.07 an hour, according to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And 484,240 people who work in “restuarants and other eating places” are making $9.04 an hour.
"To put it in perspective, yesterday I got paid, today I have not a dollar in my pocket," Akilarose Thompson, who went on strike with McDonald’s workers last December, told The Guardian.
For many waitresses, tips are the only way to get paid, although some say they aren’t getting the fair amount. One waitress, Chelsea Welch, wrote about her issues with tipping on The Guardian, and unveiled a grim scenario for all restaurant workers who live off tips.
“I need tips to pay my bills,” Welch wrote. “All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard. We care. We deserve to be paid for that.”
So is tipping really the way to go? Jay Porter wrote for Slate that his restaurant banned tipping, and the service only improved. Not only did the food get better in the restaurant, but the attitudes presented by workers also became more positive.
“Maybe in a not-too-distant future, every restaurant will present us a bill that includes everything we're supposed to pay, including enough to pay good wages to all the people who work there,” Porter wrote. “It's a system that's successful in other industries, and in restaurants in other countries. It can work here, too — and it can work better, in almost every way, than the system we have now.”
But in the meantime, minimum-wage workers who are getting the short end of the tip may have to rely on the kindness of their clientele to continue to make ends meet.