Bartender shares her $9.28 paycheck to remind everyone why tipping is so important
via Aaliyah Cortez / TikTok

A server in Texas shared some personal information on TikTok to remind everyone why it's so important to tip those who serve us our meals, drinks, and cut our hair.

The reminder is important at a time when restaurants, bars and hair salons are reopening across the country and many service industry workers are reeling from the downturn in business during the pandemic.

Aaliyah Cortez filmed a video of her paycheck where she shows that although she worked 70.80 hours during a pay period, she only received a check for $9.28. "So this is why you should always tip your bartenders and servers, anyone who waits on you, or provides a service for you," she said.



The video shows that even though she was paid the criminally low federal minimum tipped wage of $2.13, the money she received in her check was further reduced by taxes, social security, and Medicare payments.

"Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly," Cortez said. "This is why you tip."

The rules for wages in tipped industries vary across the country. Texas is among the 16 states where the state minimum cash wage payment is the same as that required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ($2.13/hr.).

Now, if a server making $2.13 an hour doesn't reach the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour with tips, then their employer must make up the difference.

The best state to work in for tipped wages is California where the minimum wage is $13 to $14 an hour, depending on the size of the business.

In a follow-up video, Cortez further discussed the issue, noting that she doesn't agree with "state laws that allow restaurants to pay under minimum wage and expect the customer to pay our wages," she said.

"I make great money in tips, she added, "However, this is not the case for all service industry workers." According to Cortez, people aren't always that generous with their tips, even though their "state is expecting them to tip."

Cortez's video is a great reminder of two things:

First, that we should all be mindful to take care of those who serve us by giving them a decent tip. Secondly, that the U.S. needs to address the issue of the tipped minimum wage because it hasn't changed in 30 years.

"Since 1991, the federal tipped minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13 an hour," gender economist Katica Rot told NBC. "Meanwhile, the non-tipped federal minimum wage has risen 70.6% and consumer prices have gone up 90.24%."

In fact, tipped employees are twice as likely (and servers three times as likely) to live in poverty than non-tipped workers.

Women bear the biggest burden of the tipped minimum wage. They represent 70% of all workers in tip-dependent occupations.

Recently, the Senate rejected attempts to raise the federal minimum wage as part of the Biden administration's wide-sweeping COVID-19 relief package. Although that fight is far from over, it means the average person needs to step up and do their part to help out.

Cortez says that a big problem with her industry is that people just don't tip enough. Let that be a reminder that in a world where it's been painfully difficult to raise the minimum wage, we are all deputized to help those who serve us by pitching in with a generous tip to show appreciation and humanity.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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