ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Buffalo Wild Wings waitress Samantha Heaton bears a rainbow-shaded equals sign on her arm as a mark of lesbian pride, and she alleges some patrons recently chose to not tip based on her tattoo.
"Can't tip someone who doesn't love Jesus! Bad tatoo (sic)" wrote the customer on the receipt, which Heaton's friend Joelle Nicole Maish posted on Facebook earlier this month.
"It was shocking. I couldn't help but feel hurt," Heaton told the BBC. "I would've openly discussed my tattoo with them, had they asked. I talked to them about their food. They kept me constantly busy, but were not openly rude to me. I've never had someone write anything like this."
The photo went viral after a local radio station shared it on its website.
Maish quickly responded to skeptics that she only wanted to raise awareness by sharing the photo and that no remuneration was expected.
Just so everyone knows, sam and I don't want the money from people. We posted this just to spread awareness, not to make money
— Joelle (@swimminmojo) August 7, 2017
"I hope I've been able to bring awareness to this issue of bullying and discrimination," Heaton told the BBC. "We have a long way to go but love and kindness will thrive in the face of adversity."