Hundreds pitch in to surprise Madison server with $4,500 tip after receiving homophobic note, no tip from customer

MADISON, Wis. — A downtown Madison server was surprised with a $4,500 tip thanks to donations from hundreds of strangers.

On Monday, Eric Salzwedel, who started the #VenmoChallenge in Madison, said a friend sent him a picture of a receipt that a downtown Madison server received. The receipt showed that on a $142 bill, the server was not given a tip by the customer who instead wrote, “Service was good but we don’t tip sinful homosexuals.”

“This really upset me that someone would do something like this,” Salzwedel said. “To go to the extent of saying it was good service, but because of their sexual orientation, they decided not to give them a tip.”

Salzwedel shared the picture on Facebook asking for donations so he could surprise the server with the tip he deserved and then some.

“Seeing this receipt, I immediately wanted to do another #VenmoChallenge, specifically for the reason to show there is more love than hate in this world and to life their spirits. Within 36 hours I had received $4,500 from folks sending an extra tip for $5, $10, $20+ from across the country,” Salzwedel said.

Roughly 250 people pitched in to donate.

“On Tuesday evening we were able to surprise the server with the tip and to let them know that people love them for who they are and to not listen to those who just want to spread hate onto others. As you may expect they were surprised from the tip and extremely grateful.”

Salzwedel said the server did not want to be identified but is extremely grateful for all those who chipped in to do the right thing.