A waiter in Texas named “Khalil” was called a terrorist by a customer who left him no tip, prompting the restaurant to ban the customer and allowing the waiter to raise about $1,000 in sympathy tips from Facebook.
But Khalil Cavil had made the whole thing up.
According to a report Monday in the Odessa American, Mr. Cavil admitted in an interview that the incident at Saltgrass Steak House was all a hoax — “I did lie to you,” he told the paper.
He acknowledged writing the claim “we don’t tip terrorist” on the receipt while working at the restaurant on July 14.
“I did write it,” Mr. Cavil told the Odessa paper, refusing to explain why. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”
The fake story won national attention and Mr. Cavil said he hoped to spur conversation “about this hatred that is still going on, that is still here and prevalent. I just wanted people to understand that.”
But on Sunday night, the restaurant said in a statement that the incident was faked and that Mr. Cavil no longer worked there. The statement neither explained how the restaurant learned this or whether Mr. Cavil was fired or resigned.
“After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story,” said Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass. “Racism of any form is intolerable, and we will always act swiftly should it occur in any of our establishments. Falsely accusing someone of racism is equaling disturbing.”
Mr. Turney said the formerly banned customer, who was never named, had been contacted and told he could come back “to dine on us.”
Mr. Cavil told the American he did not know the customer he falsely accused of racism.
“I’m sorry. I deeply made a huge, big mistake. And I’m in the process of getting the help that I need,” Cavil said.
He also said Monday that he had nearly finished returning all the money donated to him under false pretenses.
“All money is being processed and being return(ed),” he said. “Most all of it has been returned.”