Food Truck Worker: I Was Fired For Calling Out Customers Who Didn’t Tip On $170 Order

The Tweet heard 'round the world.

The Tweet heard ’round the world.

While sit-down restaurant diners customarily leave tips, gratuities are much more rare in the to-go food business. But when an eatery goes out of its way to accommodate a customer, it’s not unheard of for that customer to toss a few extra dollars in. So when a food truck worker in Manhattan saw his crew had been left without a tip on a $170 order placed by a multinational shareholder advisory service, he took his frustration to Twitter — and got fired for it.

The former food-trucker just also happened to be Brendan O’Connor, contributor to TheAwl.com, where he posted his version of the story earlier today.

“The other rainy Monday morning, business was slow when a group of about a dozen customers sprinted up,” he writes. “This group placed a huge order: three of this sandwich, four of another, three of the one that takes forever on the grill, two of the one that takes forever to assemble. Five or six milkshakes. The order came to just under $170.”

It took three people to fill the large order, all while a line began to queue up behind the staffers from Glass, Lewis & Co. who had placed the order.

“[W]e had to tell other customers that their lunch orders would take longer than usual,” recalls Brendan.

After they paid, he asked a coworker if they had entered a tip on the credit card receipt, or perhaps dropped a few bucks in cash into the tip jar. No such luck.

As the Glass, Lewis folks picked up their food, he asked some of them if they had intended to not leave a tip.

“They hemmed and hawed and walked away,” writes Brendan. “I could have not said anything. I could have made it a subtweet. I probably should have made it a subtweet. But I didn’t, because of some misguided notions about having ‘the courage of your convictions,’ or whatever.”

And so he posted a Tweet on his personal account that reads, “Shout out to the good people of Glass, Lewis & Co. for placing a $170 order and not leaving a tip,” and was directed at the Glass, Lewis Twitter account (@glasslewis).

You’ll notice his Tweet doesn’t mention the name of his employer, just that of the company employing the customers who didn’t tip.

Perhaps that’s why, rather than blowing up right away, it wasn’t until two days after the no-tip incident that Brendan got a call from his boss, who told him that the Glass, Lewis folks had contacted the food truck owners, unhappy about being publicly tip-shamed.

The truck’s Twitter account even made a public apology about the Tweet, telling Glass, Lewis that what Brendan had written “was flat out wrong. we do NOT in any way support or condone this behavior-our apologies.”

The dismissal from his job, while unfortunate, didn’t seem to shock Brendan, who admits that maybe he wasn’t cut out to work at that food truck.

“Obviously I knew it was a possibility that I’d get fired,” he writes. “I guess I had hoped that the owner would have my back if they complained, but that was a miscalculation.”

As of right now, the Glass, Lewis Tweet thanking the food truck for its apology is still its most recent post (even though it’s almost a week old). We have a hunch it will ultimately be deleted as readers of TheAwl story are leaving some unhappy replies, like “is it your company’s policy to act like colossal assholes?”