ARDMORE, Pa. – A Pennsylvania pub owner says a diner wrote “mask” instead of a tip amount on the receipt after being reminded of the establishment’s mask policy Sunday evening.
“It just wasn’t right,” said Kathy Kearney, owner of John Henry’s Pub of Ardmore.
Kearney said she asked the customer to follow the sign at the entrance mandating masks while not eating or drinking, but he ignored her, walked to a table and sat down.
The man’s server, Jamie Ledwith, wasn’t aware of what happened.
“There was no confrontation, no words explained,” Kearney said. “She didn’t even know if anything was wrong.”
Kearney said later that day Ledwith texted her a photo of the receipt the man and his party left her.
“It’s disrespectful,” Kearney said. “She’s doing her job, we’re doing our job and we just don’t need the added stress while trying to run a restaurant during this COVID period.”
She was so fed up, she decided to post the image on Facebook to let people know it wasn’t OK. The customer is not a regular, Kearney said, but comes in a couple times a year.
When your staff politely asks a customer to wear a mask until seated, this is how they are disrespected. Totally unacceptable. “YOU” should be ashamed of yourself!!John Henry’s Pub of Ardmore’s Facebook page
Kearney said when they first started following Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 mask protocol, there was initially a “little bit of push back, but that changed very quickly.”
“It’s definitely paying off for us now,” Kearney said, adding that customers tell her “you’re our go-to place, we feel comfortable here, we feel safe here.”
News of Sunday’s incident spread widely by Thursday, and calls started coming in from across the country.
“I’ve heard from people from Oregon, California, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Ohio, Florida, Brooklyn, Manhattan – all across the country,” Kearney said. “A lot of doctors have been calling, saying ‘We support you, this is necessary.'”
Kearney said a guy on a bicycle even gave an employee outside the pub $5 to give to Ledwith as a tip.
“A man from Boston is sending her Christmas presents for her son so they have a great Christmas,” Kearney said.
Kearny said the incident was frustrating but she’s still willing to give the customer the benefit of the doubt.
“There’s enough negativity in the world,” Kearny said. “Everyone deserves a break, maybe he was having a bad day, I have no idea.”