Another Day, Another Server Fired For Complaining On Social Media

Kirsten Kelly, a Texas Roadhouse waitress from Ohio, has been fired for complaining about bad tippers on Facebook. Kelly told Toledo News Now that the post read, “If you come into a restaurant and spend $50 or more, you should be able to tip appropriately for that.” She claimed she did not name Texas Roadhouse in her status, nor did she call out any specific customers, but a high school classmate of Kelly’s was apparently one of the customers she was talking about. That classmate, who’s friends with her on Facebook, saw the status, printed out a screenshot, and personally delivered it to the restaurant in an attempt to get her fired.

What strikes me as the most shitty, mind-boggling aspect of this situation is that Kelly’s comment likely would’ve gone unnoticed if this customer hadn’t gone so far out of her way to get her in trouble. This classmate was so vindictive that she bothered to drive to this restaurant on her own time to ruin someone else’s employment situation — and is clearly still unapologetic about tipping terribly. We should also keep in mind that this is a freakin’ Texas Roadhouse, and while the customer should expect the waitstaff to treat them politely (from the sounds of the story, Kelly did), this is not a Michelin-starred establishment. I’m having trouble understanding why someone would bring such an entitled attitude to a run-of-the-mill chain restaurant, but whatever.

Because of all this hostility, especially paired with the vagueness of the Facebook post in question, I thought it was a bit drastic for the restaurant to fire Kelly, but the company told Toledo News Now that there’s more to the story:

The Texas Roadhouse Corporate Office based in Louisville, Kentucky, told WTOL Kelly was fired for using a derogatory name to refer to the customer in her Facebook post, which has since been removed. They say it is corporate policy that employees are not allowed to make any mention of the restaurant on social media.

The company released this quote, “Texas Roadhouse does not tolerate offensive language towards guests, whether it occurs online, offline or even in the parking lot.”

That switches things up. I obviously don’t know how offense the “derogatory name” was, but I do know, along with anyone else who has worked in customer service, that it can be tough to keep your sanity in the face of douchey customers. There is no outlet to react when a customer does something that is blatantly disrespectful (this includes tipping badly), because restaurants are a totally different planet from the real world in which servers seemingly have to pretend they’re less entitled to human decency than the people they’re waiting on.

Kelly made the active (and kind of idiotic) choice to post a complaint on social media, and I guess I understand why the company let her go, but in a general sense, I’m really sick of our world’s misplaced oversensitivity about social media. People post a whole lot of egregious shit on Facebook that makes the world a less pleasant place — publicly dumping their ex’s most intimate secrets onto their wall, making violent threats, spreading negativity like poison onto their frenemies’ posts, repeatedly posting statuses about how much they hate everyone and everything, blatantly cyberbullying — but these people are rarely called out for their behavior. Instead, what gets people in trouble are things that never had harmful intentions, like a teacher holding a beer in a vacation photo. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon, so maybe we should just focus on treating each other a bit more like human beings in customer service settings — we can manage that much, right?

[Toledo News Now]