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Waitress Turns Anti-LGBT Discrimination into Something Awesome

Waitress Turns Anti-LGBT Discrimination into Something Awesome

When Dayna Morales, an ex-Marine and now server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, New Jersey, went to pick up the $93.55 bill from a family she had been serving that night, she was affronted to find a note scribbled on the receipt saying she would be getting no tip. Had she given them poor service? Was the food not satisfactory?

The note read: “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.”

Morales had been given a clue that this might be one of those tables early on in the night. When she introduced herself, she says she faced a bit of bigotry right out of the gate.

Image credit: Dayna Morales via Have a Gay Day

“[I gave the] normal introduction,” she told ABC News. “‘My name is Dayna. I’ll be taking care of you.’ Right away the mom looked at me and said, ‘I thought you were going to say your name was Dan,” Morales reported. This was apparently in reference to the fact that Dayna’s hair is cut short. She never mentioned that she is a lesbian, so the mother simply assumed. “I was rather offended, mad. I didn’t know how to react to that. I never thought that would ever happen,” Morales said.

In a fit of pique, Morales sent a picture of the receipt complete with the note scribbled on it to the “Have a Gay Day” Facebook page. The Internet, in that way it sometimes does, then took over.

The post quickly garnered thousands of shares and hundreds of comments. Nearly all sympathized with Dayna. Many commented on how wrong the family was to have decided to deny her the tip that she had worked hard for. Gradually, an idea formed: to donate $1 to Dayna to make up for the money she lost out on.

“People have sent me tips from all over the world just to show support. I have had people from Germany to South Africa, Australia to the U.K., San Diego, everywhere,” Dayna told CNN. “It wasn’t for the money. I never planned on this. I just wanted to vent. The purpose was to inform people it wasn’t OK.”

Dayna has now received more than $2000, but she’s not keeping all of it. Instead, she has pledged to donate a portion to the Wounded Warriors Project which helps to rehabilitate and empower wounded veterans.

The restaurant, as a matter of their patrons’ privacy, has not revealed the names or identities of the family who refused to tip Dayna. Technically the business probably cannot prevent the family from coming into the restaurant without facing a legal suit. However, Gallop General Manager Byron Lapola is quoted as saying Dayna has the restaurant’s full support:

“Dayna is one of our absolute best servers working here at Gallop. We as a team were deeply hurt by the events that transpired. I myself as the General Manager took it personal as my team treats each other like a family. I made sure that Dayna was compensated for the tip, as for emotionally I wish there was much more I could do.”

Unfortunately, this story is not an isolated incident. In October a waiter from Kansas received a similar note which, while thanking him for his “excellent” service, told him that his being gay was an “affront to God.” The note also contained several anti-gay slurs. The restaurant rallied behind the waiter and his fellow serving staff helped spread the word about the injustice he faced.

What is so edifying about stories like this is that awful cases of public discrimination has been turned into something positive, while also raising awareness that LGBTs still face high levels of prejudice even while just trying to navigate their working lives.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock.

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122 comments

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3:47AM PDT on Jul 8, 2014

Thank you

12:13PM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

Yeah, Care2 you guys need to update this please.

11:02PM PST on Dec 11, 2013

I can't believe two days ago we were talking about this girl like some sort of victimized hero...

11:00PM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Come on, care2, you're better than this... The falsely accused family deserves an apology. Morales is a liar and a fraud. It's ok to admit that. Some people are like that, whether gay or straight. Please update this post!

5:50PM PST on Dec 9, 2013

So I just found out the truth about this story and came to Care2 to see if they updated it.Apparently not.Excellent journalism,Care2.

3:00PM PST on Nov 29, 2013

thanks for sharing

9:12AM PST on Nov 29, 2013

[ed] Oops meant to also include Carol P. in my comment too for pointing out the latest developments. My apologies to you Carol and thank you for spreading the truth!

9:08AM PST on Nov 29, 2013

Cheers Jenna S., Mary T., and Steve N. for beating me to pointing out this recent development. For cenvenience here are some links: gothamist.com/2013/11/27/receipt_saga_server_lied_about_havi.php#photo-1 ; http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Gay-Restaurant-Server-Stiffed-Tip-Customer-Do-Not-Agree-Lifestyle-231998211.html

I agree with Jenna that it will be negative for the LGBT commnuity, but I think morover, it is fuel in the fire for misanthrophy. This was a feel-good story about how people come together to support someone who was treated badly but now if those supporters are proven to have been duped, then it sort of reaffirms the approach of coldness/idnifference and cynycism towards others - i.e. why help if it's probably a scam..

In case the links do not work, some of the things this woman did is shaved her head and pretended she had brain cancer, pretended she got pregnant with her father who raped her, and lied that her house got ruined by a tornado.

It makes me angry when people abuse genrousity like this, but it also increases my skepticism about journalism - it seems media jumps on bandwagons of the latest viral things without corroborating truth.
Whilst it was with good intention (to support a victim of bigotry) ultimately it still does not lead to good - if the woman's original complaint just stayed on a small website, it would have been less of an impact but now the the whole nation is shocked by a scam.

1:32PM PST on Nov 28, 2013

So I guess care2 is just going to leave this patently untrue story written as is and not update it with the truth. Morales didn't do the LGBT community and favors with her lie and I am furious that care2 doesn't care enough to get the true story out there. Hers was a crime against heterosexuals which is just as disturbing and upsetting as a crime against homosexuals.

4:07PM PST on Nov 27, 2013

Could someone please update this story? This woman lied blatantly to make money. It's all over the news. The coupld she accused borught their own copy of the receipt AND their credit card statement to prove they did tip. They did not leave any nasty note whatsoever. This despicable woman set the LGBT movement back decades with her selfish, financially motivated scam. Friends and colleagues of Morales have come forward to go on record as saying she is a compulsive liar. Despicable.

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