As a former full time waitress who waited mainly on celebrities, I was lucky if I was able to pay my rent in a studio apartment an hour’s drive each way from the café I worked at. If one of my shifts happened to fall on a day where there was a natural disaster (a regular occurrence) like a fire nearby that kept everyone away, it would mean I couldn’t eat and pay my rent that month, not to mention what it cost me in gas to get there and home. Health insurance was never a possibility during the 14 years I worked on and off in the restaurant industry because I couldn’t afford it and the restaurant didn’t provide it. Waiters and waitresses are frequently run off of their feet and treated inferior by patrons who don’t tip. People don’t realize that in addition to making an unlivable wage, waiters and waitresses pay tax on their total sales for the day. This means that when people don’t tip, it actually costs the waiter or waitress money to have waited on them. I thank God every day that I was able to free myself from what I know is the hardest and most underpaid job I’ve ever had. We must raise pay for waiters and waitresses so they can afford to care for themselves and their families. Living Off Tips Is degrading.