Social media's individual empowerment, immediacy and ability to embarrass are evident in Applebee's firing of a server for sharing a diner's snarky comment on Reddit.
The incident has generated apologies, policy restatements and tons of online comment that threaten to keep the PR firestorm aflame for days or longer.
It started when a pastor of a St. Louis church took members of her congregation to Applebee's after an evening service. When the pastor got the bill, with an 18 percent tip automatically added for the party of more than eight people, she crossed off the tip and wrote, "I give God 10%, why do you get 18%."
The server snapped a picture of the receipt and comment on her smartphone and later posted it online, where it went viral.
The pastor was upset because the picture of the receipt included her signature, as well as the snarky comment. She demanded Applebee's fire the server responsible. Applebee's responded on its Facebook page, saying it was against restaurant policy to reveal diner personal information. The company's CEO apologized, the local Applebee's franchise operator apologized and the server was apparently fired.
Then all hell broke loose.