Taylar Cordova is a 22-year-old waitress at a Colorado P.F. Chang's restaurant. Having previously worked at a Jamba Juice, she is well-versed on being a worker in the service industry and uses her pay, which is mostly tips, to help raise her young daughter.
A few days ago, Cordova waited on a customer who racked up a $187 bill. It is customary to tip between 15 to 20 percent of the check to food service employees, but the customer didn't leave her anything.
Cordova, who wrote that she struggled "to put clothes on my daughter's back and food in our bellies," opened up in a viral Facebook post.
"Whenever you feel like it's probably fine to not tip your server, that's one more bill stacking up because they're short on money," she wrote. "This is food for the week that our families will go without because you didn't think it was necessary."
With the federal minimum wage for food workers stuck at $2.13 an hour since the 1990s, most food service employees still depend on tips to survive. Half of restaurant workers are living near or in poverty. The median pay for a waiter or waitress is under $22,000 a year, which critics argue amounts to a "starvation wage."
Cordova completed her empowering Facebook message by emphasizing the financial struggles of working in her industry.
"Servers are paid a base pay of $2-5/hr depending on the employer, so next time you don't want to tip, regardless of the situation prior to receiving your bill, think about how much you would have to work that week off $2-5/hr to feed your family, not just you," she wrote. "Could you pay your bills based on that pay alone? Could you feed your family AND yourself? Because that's what happens when you choose to not tip. Please, please tip your servers."