Dayna Morales (Kathy Johnson/(Bridgewater, N.J.) Courier-News)
Cheryl Makin and Sergio Bichao
(Bridgewater, N.J.) Courier-News
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. - The waitress who said she was denied a tip because she was gay - before evidence surfaced that her claim may have been a hoax - and the restaurant at the center of the incident have decided mutually to part ways.
According to a post on the restaurant's Facebook page, Gallop Asian Bistro has taken seriously the allegations made by the waitress, Dayna Morales, and those made against her.
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"Despite news reports to the contrary, this is not a simple, straight-forward matter and we have conducted our own internal investigation," the post said. "The results of that investigation are inconclusive as to exactly what happened between Ms. Morales and the customers that night. However, in light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future."
Further, the Facebook post called the incident an unfortunate one for the restaurant, its employees and customers.
"We are dedicated to providing excellent Asian cuisine and superior service," the post said. "We have the utmost faith in our management and staff and we welcome the opportunity to serve our customers."
On Sunday, a manager at the Gallop Asian Bistro confirmed that the Facebook statement was posted Saturday and is representative of the restaurant's position on the matter at this time.
Last week, Morales began to refund some of the hundreds of dollars in donations she received from people all over the country.
New York City resident Jocelyn Carlisle said that a $3 donation made to Morales through the online payment website PayPal had been returned Friday.
"Clearly, if she is doing something under false pretense, that is a good thing," Carlisle said about the refund.
But not all the people who might have been hoodwinked are looking for their money back. Betsy Weintraub, an employment discrimination attorney in Memphis, Tenn., who sent Morales $16, said she still feels sorry for the 22-year-old waitress.
"She hasn't cashed the check, and I don't want the money back," Weintraub said Friday. "I don't care. She needs this money more than I do."
Last month, Morales made headlines after posting on Facebook a picture of a restaurant check that had a written note explaining that the reason the customer did not leave a tip was because they did not agree with Morales' lifestyle.
Morales, a former U.S. Marine, garnered a lot of sympathy and collected nearly $2,000 in donations, which she promised to donate to the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project. But doubts began to surface about the authenticity of the check when the unidentified family presented its copy of the receipt and a credit-card statement to a reporter from WNBC-TV in New York. The documents showed that the family indeed had left an $18 tip.
STORY: Family that stiffed waitress over lifestyle can return
Former friends and colleagues of Morales said she habitually lied about supposed tragedies in her life. On Nov. 29, the restaurant posted on its Facebook page that Morales had been suspended pending an investigation.
The Wounded Warrior Project, meanwhile, said last week it had no record of a donation from Morales.
Carlisle said she decided to send Morales a few dollars after reading the initial news reports about her.
"As a gender queer, I get a lot of unpleasantness in my life and I wanted to share support for someone going through the same kind of discrimination," Carlisle said.
Neither Morales nor the restaurant has acknowledged that the tip story was fake. Morales initially stood by her story but since has not spoken publicly.
Weintraub said she decided to send Morales money because she "felt for her" - and still does. She called the restaurant Friday to ask the manager and staff to "make sure she has family or friends looking out for" Morales.
"I know I can't speak for other people, but I don't want my money back. I don't consider myself a victim of a fraud or hoax," Weintraub said. "I wish I could tell her that not everybody in the world hates her. I hope she's OK."
(Bridgewater, N.J.) Courier-News vis USA Today