Cody Medina
Cody Medina
June 9, 2024 ·  3 min read

Mom Shares $9 Paycheck After Working Over 70 Hours as a Server

This year has put a lot of spotlight on retail and food service workers. As they are claimed to be “essential” a lot of them are underpaid and overworked. As a lot of people find themselves needing 2nd and sometimes even a 3rd job to make ends meet. With the pandemic still on the rise, this is causing a lot of trouble for families. This mom has to share her $9 paycheck with her family after working over 70 hours. This alone should be ringing alarm bells inside everyone’s head.

Read: Austin’s homeless are being paid $15 an hour to clean up the city

Sharing A $9 Paycheck

You have to have a certain kind of mental fortitude to deal with this crisis. $9 dollars is clearly not enough for a whole family, let alone an individual. Aaliyah Cortez was hoping for a much larger paycheck after working over 70 hours for the week. Only to be extremely disappointed when finding out her paycheck was a mere $9 dollars. (1)

Posting on her TikTok, she reveals her hourly wage and just how much Medicare, Social Security, and other taxes took from her overall pay. Paired with the base pay of $2.13 an hour, her hourly wage was $150. Even though this might be a small sum, it still can provide a lot of help for her family. Instead, she is forced to decide what would be a wise investment or purchase with this money.

The way the system is set-up makes it extremely difficult for people working in retail and food service to save any money. People have to literally skip meals and basic necessities just to pay bills. Many other service workers resonate with Cortez on how unfair this existence is.


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The Power Of Tips

Even though it’s a little extra cash out of the customers pocket, this goes a long way. Especially if you are ordering food online, it’s important to tip your drivers. Even then, some food delivery places take a cut of that money too. Cortez posted her concerns about fairness in the service industry.

“It’s not right that we have to do this, but I wanted to shed some light on the issue and inform the public about the importance of tipping. If I had a good two weeks from tips my check will be on the lower side. At my last restaurant, my checks would come out to be $0.” Explains Cortez. (1)

With the pandemic, supporting small local businesses has been an effort. Most places have actually closed down because of lack of business, leaving tons of workers without jobs. Of course, money is already scarce for a lot of people. However, even just tipping five dollars can make a huge difference. You’ll actually find that tipping is one of the ultimate sources of income for a lot of service industry workers.

Read: The Salary You Need to Be Paid in Every State to Afford an Average Home

Some People Disagree, $9 Sounds Right

Despite showing the obvious bleak reality of her paycheck, some people disagree with her. Some people believe that $9 is exactly the right amount of money she should earn for her work. Of course, a lot of these people have prejudices and don’t truly understand what it means to work in retail or food service. There are some people willingly to admit that they never tip people for their work. Even prior to the pandemic, there have been a lot of people who treat the service industry horribly. There are too many people that are in Cortez’s place and don’t have a lot of other sources for help. With an unfortunately truth that most of them become homeless or evicted.

Poverty isn’t something that people just willingly put themselves in. The system is designed to keep people poor and barely able to thrive. Even though tipping seems like more than what you want to pay, realize it’s going towards someone’s livelihood. This money is going to someone’s family so they can finally eat something this week. This money you just gave them is going to purchase diapers for their baby. You have to think of the big picture other than “oh no, I don’t want to give them MY five dollars.” This is about more than just one person.

Keep reading: Man Just Paid Off the Past dues for 114 families at Risk of Having Their Utilities Shut Off