UnderCover Waitress: Twelve Thousand Dollar Tip

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Twelve Thousand Dollar Tip

Stacy Knutson, a waitress at the Fryn' Pan in Minnesota, is making headlines at the moment. During a late night shift, a customer left a to go container from a competitor on the table as she left. Knutson, giving good service, followed her to return the container, but the customer told her she could keep it.

Not being one to want to pick through a stranger's leftovers, I may have made the mistake, if I were in Knutson's position, of throwing the container away. It's a good thing that curiosity got the better of Knutson; the container held $12,000 in cash.

Knutson called the local police who were quoted as saying that a human could smell the marijuana on the money. They did get a police dog to do a sniff test and confirm that this was drug money.

Then the red tape began. Knutson waited the obligatory ninety days before expecting the money to be returned to her. The police suggested that she and her lawyer file a lawsuit so that the judge could release money that was part of a police investigation. Done.

Stacy Knutson was given the $12,000. Cool. Of course, the IRS auditors read the paper, and Knutson is well-advised to get the advice of a tax specialist.  Tips are taxed; gifts below $13,000 are not. The $12,000 windfall is not enough to put Knutson in a high enough class to pay minimal to no taxes, kind of like Mitt Romney. (Romney wouldn't notice if somebody skimmed $12,000 from his accounts, but he pays a lower percentage of his income in taxes than people who are struggling to feed their children.)

But that is not what really gets me about this story. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for Knutson's windfall. What disgusts me is her insistence that the windfall is a result of her prayers. She and her husband are struggling to make ends meet and feed their five children. This, I understand. But to think that she now has some money is the result of praying to G-d and asking him for money is ludicrous. G-d is not Santa Claus.

The Republican party wants everybody to think this way. If we just pray enough, we won't get sick. If we pray enough, we won't need social services. We don't need to regulate industry or take care of the middle and working classes because those people just need to pray. If you pray, nothing bad will happen. If you pray, the Drug Lord will drop $12,000 of crime-tainted money in your lap.

Marvelous. What malarkey.


  1. If I found $12,000 I'm not so sure I'd turn it in. That's a really tough call. :D

    1. Very tough call! I am so glad that the decision to alert the authorities did not backfire. She got to keep it!

  2. So what if that"s what she believes? That's her choice. I am not a religious person, but it is not up to me to decide what someone else should believe, and vice versa. To say you're "disgusted" by her belief that God helped her speaks volumes about your own intolerance and disdain for someone who doesn't think the same as you. I also wouldn't take away someone's belief system because a few politicians try to twist it to their own benefit. to me that's the same as trying to force your religion on me. She prayed, she got money, she believes God sent it to her as the result of her prayers. Good for her, glad something worked out in her favor...no matter what it was.

    1. I'll choose a large example to make my point: Millions of people who prayed every day and had a firm faith in G-d perished in the Holocaust. Does this mean that Knutson's prayers are better than theirs?

      To bring it back down to size, if Knutson (and I do not want this to happen!) got hit by a car, broke both her legs and couldn't work, would that mean that she did something to upset G-d?

      I don't deny Knutson her windfall. But to believe that it is the result of her prayers is a bit childish, to say the least.

  3. Look up trollop...

  4. I'm with you on this one, Waitress.


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