NBC 4 New York
A New Jersey restaurant server says a customer denied her a tip on a nearly $100 bill because she is gay. Pat Battle reports.
A New Jersey restaurant server says a customer denied her a tip on a nearly $100 bill because she is gay.
Dayna Morales, a former Marine and a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, posted a photo of the bill showing a line through the space for a tip.
Instead, the customer wrote, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle."
Morales posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook, writing that the mother of two was shocked by her short hair. Morales says when she introduced herself to the family, the woman said: "Oh, I thought you were gonna say your name is Dan. You sure surprised us!"
Morales wrote that she was offended and hurt that "THIS is what her kids will grow up learning and that I served in the Marines to keep ignorant people like them free."
She told NBC 4 New York Friday it felt like more than a personal attack and believes that's why the photo of the receipt resonated with so many online.
"It hit home for a lot of people who have either struggled with anything in their life or been put down," she said.
Bobby Vanderhoff, the manager at Gallop Asian Bistro, said the tables have turned since word of Morales' experience got out, and supporters were calling and visiting Friday, wishing to speak with her or sit at one of her tables.
"Hopefully, they can take this negative thing and turn it into positive," he told NBC 4 New York.
Morales was so busy fielding the calls and emails of support that she hardly had a chance to wait any tables, even those who came just to see her. But that hasn't stopped the tips from coming in by the hundreds of dollars -- including from people like Jason Papvero, who plunked down a $50 cash tip despite never sitting down or eating at the restaurant.
"I figured, let me stop down and do something nice for her," said Papvero.
"People are very ignorant," he said of the anti-gay customers. "They should be ashamed of themselves."
Morales said she plans to send a portion of her new tips to the Wounded Warriors Project.
"It's great to see everybody's support and I'm thankful for it, but it doesn't excuse or change the fact that it actually did happen," she said.
Vanderhoff said the restaurant doesn't tolerate discrimation of any kind and the customers were no longer welcome there.
"We support Dayna 100 percent. She's a wonderful person and a wonderful server, and we are extremely proud of her and the way she handled this situation," he said.
Pat Battle contributed to this report.