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Living Off Tips is causing the people I know and love to go into incredible amounts of debt. There was so many times when I didn’t even receive a paycheck. I would go into work EXPECTING not to get one. “That $2.83/hour is only supposed to cover your taxes.” There were so many times when I would get to work, and my manager would send me home after I took one table. She said “Well, you got a table. So that tip covers the gas that it took you to get here!” Well, yeah that’s nice. What about rent? What about student loans? What about food? How am I supposed to live off of getting a FOUR dollar tip? That’s right, I can’t. My coworker couldn’t even afford her rent. I had to give her money just so she could keep her place. Just so she could put a roof over her children’s heads. Then when she lost the house, she had to stay in a hotel. She had to go to work and she only went just so she could make enough money each night so she could afford to pay for another night at the hotel. One night she called me crying. She said, “I got sent home early because no one was coming in. I don’t know how I am going to pay for the hotel tonight! I don’t know what to do.” I had to drive to the hotel and while she sat in the room with her kids, I paid for the hotel room for the night for them. I explained to the man what the situation was. We were lucky that he had a heart. He gave them three nights for the price of one. What I’m trying to say is. Yes, tips are fast money. They however, are NOT easy money or reliable money. That hourly wage is what is reliable. That hourly wage is what keeps people off the street. That hourly wage is the one thing that could have prevented my friend and her children from living out of a hotel room. If the server wage was raised they would have had paychecks. Money that they could put away when they DIDN’T make enough in tips. When the season gets slow and you’re standing around for four hours, $2.83 is not worth it. We don’t even care, because we know we won’t even see it. Please raise the server wage. I don’t serve anymore. However, I do feel SO strongly about this because I have seen the poverty it can cause. You are the only ones preventing people from struggling. You are the only ones who can make a real difference. I don’t know if you will even read this, but I hope you do. What if it was someone you cared about that was affected by this? What if it was your friend? Your sister or brother? Your child? Would you want them to struggle like this, just because they get paid so little for working so hard for a tip that isn’t even guaranteed? Think about how all the positive changes that can come from this. Think about how many children will eat better, how many people will sleep better, how people will be able to live better, just from one word. YES! Say yes!