A Texas mom has shared her $9.28 paycheck she earned as a waitress working more than 70 hours, leaving the internet in shock. Aaliyah Cortez from Austin has worked as a server and bartender at a local sports bar for the past year, but despite putting in lengthy hours on her feet, she’s still only coming home with between $4 and $11 from her employer. This led her to make a TikTok video explaining why tipping is so important, and the internet was shocked.
1. AALIYAH KNOWS THAT TIPPING ISN’T RIGHT, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT.“It’s not right that we have to do this. But I wanted to shed some light on the issue and inform the public about the importance of tipping,” she said in the clip. She then showed off her minuscule paycheck revealing that while she should have gotten paid around $150 but after social security and taxes were taken out, she was only left with $9.28.
2. SHE CAN’T LIVE OFF THAT KIND OF MONEY.No one could possibly be expected to live off of $9.28 for two weeks, let alone someone who’s raising a child as Aaliyah is. This is why it’s so vital that customers to come to the bar and restaurant leave tips. “Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly,” she explained. “I cannot afford to live off of $2.13 an hour, so I solely rely on the generosity of my customers.”
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4. AALIYAH TRIES TO KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT THE SITUATION.While being paid $2.13 an hour, which is considered minimum wage for tipped employees in some states, is absolutely appalling, Aaliyah tries to see the bright side. “Honestly, every time I open a check, I just chuckle a little bit. My coworkers and I will compare checks to see who got the least amount, and we’ll just laugh because it’s ridiculous how little we get paid,” she told Bored Panda. “I would just like to add that I love my job, and I’m fortunate enough to make enough to get by. But it’s tough to think that if an emergency comes up, it could really hurt me financially. I just wish we all had stable and consistent paychecks.”
5. WHILE SHE APPRECIATES IT’S NOT THE CUSTOMER’S RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY HER WAGES, THIS IS HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS AT THE MOMENT.“It’s important to tip because we literally rely solely on those tips. We’ll be greatly appreciative, and it’s just nice to be compassionate and understanding that this is just how laws are set up,” Aaliyah explained of tipping. “If you’re going to restaurants that do abide by these laws, you are feeding into the broken system. We don’t like relying on the customer, but until the laws [changes], we still need to be paid.”
6. PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET SEEM DIVIDED.While many people were appalled to discover how little Aaliyah and other waitresses are paid for so much hard work and demanded that the laws should be changed so that they’re compensated fairly, others still pointed out that they shouldn’t have to tip just to reinforce a broken system and allow these employers to get away with underpaying their staff. It’s clear some big things need to change here, but will they?