Update: Greg Abbott Refutes Allegation That He Didn’t Tip Texas Servers
Update: There's a new wrinkle in this story.
We reached out to Governor Greg Abbott's office about the viral Twitter claims and received the following statement from his press secretary, Renae Eze.
A woman recently took to Twitter to relay the alleged experience of her niece, who served Greg Abbott and his family in a Grapevine, Texas restaurant.
The tweet/personal anecdote was in response to a couple other anti-Abbott tweets and has since gone viral.
Of course, there's no way to confirm the veracity of this claim. It could have been misheard, misremembered or even fabricated wholesale. We don't know how long ago this even happened, as her niece "was" a server at Rainforest Café.
Some folks have claimed that the story can't be true because a table of 20 would have had an auto-gratuity on the ticket. Not every restaurant does this, and even if they do, they don't do it every time. Some restaurants leave it up to the server to use their own judgment. That claim doesn't automatically discount this story.
We reached out to Rainforest Café in Grapevine to ask if they add auto-grat to tables of 20. We were told that questions about the alleged Abbott incident would have to go through the restaurant's corporate office. The employee said gratuity for larger groups at the restaurant are based on a contract signed by the booking party.
So the employee gave us an answer about birthday parties et. al, but not necessarily about large parties who may just walk into the restaurant.
Many Redditors, after seeing this tweet, commented along the lines that this behavior is typical of rich people, and that it's their miser-dom that keeps them wealthy. I haven't found that to be exclusively true.
My husband has been a fine-dining server and will frequently outpace my income due to the outrageously awesome generosity of some guests. But he does know a few who are rich and still tip $5 on a $200 bill. I think it comes down to the morals, ethics and compassion of the individual.
Another Redditor posited, "who wants to bet the state picked up that bill," which would make the alleged lack of tipping even more egregious. Imagine getting something for free and not shelling out a measly 20 percent to cover the tip... if he didn't want the state to cover it. Abbott's net worth is reportedly $14 million; he would've been able to afford it. And if his wife, Cecilia Abbott, really did tell a server that it was an "honor" to serve them, well, I hope she decides to do the right thing and never eat at a full-service restaurant again.
I really loved this Reddit comment:
Now i never did service so I'm by no means an authority on this but, I'm guessing honor can't be cashed in for food, security, or shelter.
We will likely never know if this encounter actually happened or not. The employee we spoke to at Rainforest Cafe did not confirm or deny that Abbott had even dined there. But let's be clear: anyone who would demand the time of two servers for zero gratuity is scum. Absolute scum. Not only do servers not make money in that situation, they have to tip out bartenders, hosts and sometimes even bussers and back of house staff. So it literally costs a server to serve you when you don't tip. It's theft of their time, table space, work and literal pay.
I know people who "don't believe in tipping," and I don't believe those people should ever eat at a full-service restaurant. There's plenty of options that don't require a tip -- take-out (although I do think a modest tip is appropriate), service at a counter (not including alcoholic drinks) and making your damn food at home.