After a waitress in Illinois claimed she was denied a tip by a family after they noted she was sporting an LGBT rainbow tattoo, some members of the Facebook community sought to cast doubt over the story.
Samantha Heaton's story began circulating online after her colleague shared a snap of Samantha's tattoo alongside a receipt which explained why the 20-year-old waitress had been left without a tip despite providing good service.
"I would just like to say that being gay does NOT MEAN you don't believe in God or Jesus. And people who are "religious" should not disrespect or act in such ways to other people," wrote Joelie Nicole Marsh last week.
Samantha was stunned to receive a handwritten message on the credit card receipt which read: "Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus. Bad tatoo." [sic]
Speaking to local newspaper Rock River Times, Samantha expressed her upset, saying: "I went above and beyond for this couple, and for them to leave that kind of hurt. Like, I have bills to pay too."
Acknowledging the sentiment of the message, Samantha countered: "I do believe in Jesus and God. I myself am a Christian. And, as a Christian, thou shall not judge."
"No matter how someone looks, you should love them for what’s in their heart and how they treat you—not for what is on the outside," she reasoned.
Samantha, who has been in a relationship with her girlfriend for three years, despaired for the future of the family's children, saying:"What if one day their kids grow up and want to be with the same sex, are they going to disown them? Throw them on the street."
Like many members of the LGBT community, Samantha has fought public and private battles since coming out, and feels understandably dismayed by the family's treatment.
"As someone who came out when it was still a battle for the LGBTQ community, that’s just plain rude and uncalled for," Samantha said.
While the post has amassed considerable attention, some members of the public were quick to question the legitimacy of the claim.
"So they wrote the note in blue pen but signed in black let me guess you have a gofundme people can donate to," wrote one.
"Probably another fake story like the last 5 of these that were all proven to be a lie," added another while someone else wrote: "I bet anything, they left her a cash tip on the table and she wrote the note for attention."
"Why are the signature and the "note" from two different color pens? You know, when you do these fake "hate crime" hoaxes, you delegitimize the real ones," remarked someone else.
While the post has received scepticism, it has also amassed thousands of likes and shares since its upload.