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LYNCHBURG, Va. - A restaurant that faced backlash after trying to shame a teenager who paid a bill mostly in quarters, inspired the customer to start fundraising to pay for more people’s meals with change.
Cohen Naulty took a couple of his friends out for lunch Monday to Beer 88, where he picked up the $45 tab. He used a $20 bill and mostly quarters to cover the check as well as a $10 tip, he said.
"It's just U.S. currency. I'm allowed to use it. It's not illegal. I'm not doing anything wrong," Naulty told WSET.
Later that day, the restaurant shared a picture of the change and included hashtags “#nohometraining” in a post that has since been removed.
The restaurant said in a later post that its original post was not intended to be hurtful. That post has also been removed.
“In response to our earlier post, it was posted as a joke, intended as a joke and should be taken as a joke. It was posted as a light-hearted way of saying that something like this can be annoying to people that work in the restaurant/retail industry. In no way did we publicly shame ANYONE for paying OR tipping. We try to keep our page funny and relatable. And had no idea that this would be offensive to anyone.”
"On that part, yes, I do apologize," Yao Liu, the owner of Beer 88, told WSET, referring to the hashtag. "Because, you know, I didn't see it."
Naulty, 17, who works as a server at Kountry Kitchen, turned the worldwide interest into a way to keep buying lunch for people. He started The Quarter Boy, a fundraiser to pay for stranger’s meals in change at least once a week. It has raised $4,900.
“If you are a restaurant that wouldn’t mind a register filled with quarters at the end of the night and a special treat for one of your patrons now and then please post so I know who I won’t offend by coming by,” he wrote on Facebook.