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Server says she was fired from restaurant after receiving $4,400 tip

Losing her job suddenly "was devastating," said Ryan Brandt, who owes a "significant amount of money" for her student loans.

A good deed gone wrong.

Ryan Brandt found herself unemployed after receiving a $4,400 tip at Oven and Tap restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Dec. 3.

Brandt, who served customer Grant Wise's party of over 40 people with one other server, was surprised when she saw the large tip left on the table.

“It was an incredible thing to do and to see her reaction was awesome, to see what that meant to her, the impact that it’s had on her life already,” Wise said about the moment, according to NBC affiliate KNWA.

Although the two servers thought the money was meant for them, they came to a hard realization when their manager told them otherwise.

“I was told that I was going to be giving my cash over to my shift manager, and I would be taking home 20%,” Brandt told KNWA.

She noted that the restaurant wanted her to share her tips with her co-workers, which was something that she had never done before in the three and a half years that she's worked there.

It also didn't help that Wise called ahead to ensure that his party’s tips would go straight to the servers, even though it didn't.

Once Wise learned that the restaurant wanted the two servers to share their cash with everyone, he asked Oven and Tap to return the gratuity so he could hand the money to Brandt outside. But that action, she said, caused her to lose her job.

Close-up of a person's hand paying bill by credit card in a restaurant
A person pays for the bill after dining at a restaurant with their party.Hola Images / Getty Images

She said the restaurant fired her because she wasn't supposed to tell Wise about their policy of pooling tips.

“It was devastating," she said. "I borrowed a significant amount for student loans. Most of them were turned off because of the pandemic but they’re turning back on in January and that’s a harsh reality."

When KNWA asked the local eatery for a statement, they briefly explained what happened regarding Brandt's departure.

“After dining, this large group of guests requested that their gratuity be given to two particular servers. We fully honored their request," they said. "Out of respect for our highly valued team members, we do not discuss the details surrounding the termination of an employee.”

But thanks to Wise, Brandt isn't officially out of luck just yet. The Witly co-founder started a GoFundMe for Brandt so she could have a little money in her pocket during the holidays. The goal, which is set at $6,000 has already been met and is now at $8,732.

"My only goal is to help her get through this experience with the least amount of stress and anxiety possible and onto whatever her next opportunity may be," he said in an update he posted on the crowdfunding site.

On Thursday, Wise shared the good news that Brandt had been offered a new job with another local restaurant where she started her first shift on Wednesday night.

With that, on Saturday, he shared a final update that he disabled new donations because they'd already exceeded their original goal. He also said Brandt "is already very happy at her new job."