It’s what the holidays are all about, giving. For one group of retired and current East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputies, it’s exactly what they have been doing the past few years.
They pick any restaurant in Baton Rouge. Their waiter/waitress is not picked out ahead of time. The group randomly gets seated and whomever is their server for that meal, well you could call them the lucky server.
It’s not till the end of the meal that the entire group gets their ticket on one check, but puts up well over how much their meal costs. In some cases, people gave a $100 bill for a meal that may have been only $20.
This specific year, the group went to Jones Creek Café and surprised Taylor Bell, 29. She was told the story was about the difficulties of waitressing.
“Actually last week recently, I felt like a machine really because I worked three doubles and it is 10-12 hours a day and it is hard work. Your feet just become numb,” said Bell.
Bell said she moved from Baton Rouge last year but came back a few months ago. After spending 10 years in the medical field, she said she wanted a change. Her friend said Jones Creek Cafe needed some help so she started waitressing full-time about two months ago.
“I’m very dedicated and determined when it comes to this job and it’s, like I said, it’s worth it,” said Bell.
It’s worth it despite the fact that waitresses only get paid $2.13 per hour. The majority of their income comes from tips the public leaves behind.
“Some days you come in with a lot of money and other days you get maybe $20,” said Bell. “My last check, after 70 some hours, it was like $60 and that’s like good pocket change you know but mainly, it’s all about tips here.”
With bills like her apartment rent and trying to save up so she can afford to buy a car instead of having to catch rides to work, it can be a struggle.
The group’s total bill came out to be about $318 and they collected over $1,000. Bell was given nearly $700 as a tip just in time for Christmas.
Bell was overwhelmed, cried and said the money will go getting her a new car because every day, she catches a ride with someone to get to work.