Two weeks ago, the story of a gay waitress who said she was refused a tip by a New Jersey couple went viral. But now, as with so many other viral stories, the account appears too good—or, in this case, awful—to be true: The couple has come forward with their copy of the receipt and their credit card statement as proof that the whole thing was a hoax.
On November 13, Dayna Morales, a former Marine and current server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, New Jersey claims she waited on a couple that insisted on calling her "Dan" and left a hateful note instead of a tip: "sorry I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle & the way you live your life," the note allegedly read. Morales sent a photo of the note to Have a Gay Day, and it quickly went viral, generating thousands in donations for Morales.
But this week, a couple claiming to have been Morales' customers that night contacted NBC 4 New York with seemingly irrefutable proof that Morales—or the restaurant—made the whole thing up: a copy of their receipt—with generous tip—that matches the total and timestamp of the receipt that Morales posted with a corresponding credit card statement.
"We've never not left a tip when someone gave good service, and we would never leave a note like that," the wife said (she and her husband requested to be anonymous), adding that she could not have made the slash in the tip line because she's left handed.
"Never would a message like that come from us," her husband said, before noting that he and his wife support gay rights and refused to vote for New Jersey Governor because of his stance against gay marriage. "It's a disgusting thing to do," he added. "The restaurant profits from this, obviously Dayna profits from this. It's fraud, it's a scam."
The couple came forward because of the donations Morales is receiving, a percentage of which she's said she'll donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. "I just felt like people have a right to know that—it's fine if people want to donate to her or to the Wounded Warriors, but they're doing it under a false pretense," the wife said.
When contacted by NBC 4, neither the restaurant's manager nor its owner could produce the original receipt or explain why the family was charged $18 more than Morales claimed.
For now, Morales is standing by her story, though not in the most convincing manner. "I don't know, all I know is what I've been saying," she told NBC 4. "That's not my handwriting. I don't know."
As for calling her "Dan" instead of Dayna, the couple says that was a misunderstanding. They thought the hostess said their server would be named Dan and when Morales arrived at her table, the wife said: "Oh, I thought you were gonna say your name is Dan. You sure surprised us!"
Gallop Asian Bistro told NBC 4 that they've launched an internal investigation, though Morales is still waiting tables.