When junior health sciences major Katie Benedito saw that a waitress, Lulu Gamble, from TGI Friday’s (TGIF) in Hamden was required to pay a check left by Quinnipiac students, she decided to create a GoFundMe page to get the waitress her money back.
An initial Facebook post was written by a fellow TGIF waitress, Kaitlyn Wescott, about the situation.
In the post–which has been shared 8,945 times–Wescott said Gamble was going to leave when the students entered and she took their table. Gamble missed tucking her daughter in for bed that night, according to the post.
But the part of the Facebook post that caught Benedito’s attention was that Gamble had to pay the students’ check out of her tips since they left out without paying.
“I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post that caught my attention. It was about a woman who had been working as a waitress on a late night shift. Although she was ready to leave, she kindly volunteered to take the table full of QU students,” Benedito said. “Unfortunately they repaid her kindness by skipping out on their bill. I was already aware of the negative attention QU students receive with the Hamden community and I wanted to show that the actions of those students do not define us as a student body.”
Gamble is a single mother, according to a Facebook post by Wescott. In the post, Wescott said Gamble had a tough year and that the GoFundMe page is a way to make sure “they end the year in an unforgettable way.”
Sara-Lynn Dickinson, a sophomore legal studies major, helped Benedito come up with an idea to give back to the waitress.
“[Katie] saw the original Facebook post about the waitress being walked out on and had posed the idea of doing something to help [the waitress] and her daughter,” Dickinson said. “The contribution I made was the idea of the GoFundMe page, just to see if we could even get $10 to try and cover part of the tips she had to give up to cover the tab.”
Shortly after creating the GoFundMe page and sharing it on social media, Benedito and Dickinson have managed to raise $860 for Gamble.
On the page, donations range from $5 to $50. Many comments accompanying the donations reminded Gamble that not all Quinnipiac students behave that way.
Senior occupational therapy major Jessica Jankowski said the GoFundMe page helps show the Hamden community that Quinnipiac cares.
“I think it’s such a good idea because lately with QU getting a lot of bad publicity in the community for parties and other inappropriate behaviors, it is so important for students to remind locals that we all aren’t inconsiderate and that actually most of the students here care about our community and don’t want a few bad seeds to ruin our relationships with the greater Hamden community,” Jankowski said.
Gamble commented on a Facebook post on Wescott’s page about the GoFundMe account and said she was at a loss for words with all the support and outreach.
For Dickinson, the process showed the strength of the Quinnipiac community.
“It will just be nice to show people that Quinnipiac isn’t all bad and the vast majority of the students here don’t deserve the bad reputation we are often given,” Dickinson said. “Between watching the donations bar rise and the comments from the community, it’s really great to see how the community is coming together to help this woman.”
Dickinson said the situation has renewed her Bobcat pride.
“There simply aren’t…words to describe how wonderful it has been helping with this project,” she said. “We all contributed in different ways and I personally [have] never been more proud to than I am right now to be a Bobcat.”