NAPLES, Fla. - We've heard of businesses filing claims with BP to recoup losses due to the oil spill, but now a restaurant server in Naples says the spill is eating away at his tips. He's becoming one of the first to file a claim.
"Not seeing some of the same faces, and some of my coworkers aren't seeing them either."
That was the first indication for a Naples server that oil may be affecting his tips. He doesn't want us to identify him, worried it may do more damage that what he believes BP is already doing.
Compared to the previous two years he says he's down in income, "I would say still I'm $275 dollars behind a week."
The list of servers in this situation is no short order.
"Aldo has a family, his income is half what it normally is," David Bayer, owner of Ristorante d' Angeli, says of one of his servers.
Bayer tells me staff noticed a difference in traffic within the first 30 days of the oil spill. In fact, wait staff says many of their European regulars have been no-shows. All are pointing fingers at BP.
Now, the man who doesn't want to show his identity is blazing a trail for his fellows servers by filing a claim with BP. He's trying to get some of that money back.
Claims Manager Tom Wiley had just a handful of servers and bartenders file claims.
"Their hours have been cut or their days have been cut. It's based on the income they lost. If they lost $500 in May, then we're going to pay them $500," Wiley explains.
Some have already received checks.
Wiley says servers need to bring a letter from their boss saying they believe the lost in customers is due to the oil spill. They will also need their tax returns for 2008 and 2009; plus pay stubs for months they wish to file a claim for. With this information adjusters are able to determine how much the change in income is due to the down turn in the economy, and how much is due to oil.
For the server filing, "I'm not out to make a tremendous amount of money off a bad situation. I'm just trying to pay my electric bill and my water bill."