A black waitress who received thousands of dollars in donations after she claimed she received a racist note and no tip from a patron last month fabricated the incident, the customer claims.
Kelly Carter, a waitress at Anita’s New Mexico Cafe in Ashburn, Va., claimed that a white man stiffed her on his $30.52 restaurant bill and wrote “Great service, don’t tip black people” at the bottom of his receipt.
But the note was forged, says Daniel Hebda, a lawyer for the customer.
Hebda said in a statement Friday that his client did leave Carter a small tip — one penny — because her service was poor, not because she is black.
“Our client did not nor would he ever write anything about refusing to tip African Americans because of their race,” Hebda said, according to WTOP.
— Loudoun Times-Mirror (@LTMnews) January 8, 2017
“Our client has no ill feelings towards African Americans. Our client did not leave a $0.00 tip. Our client tipped $0.01 out of his own conviction against tipping well for poor service.”
Hebda said that his client did write on the receipt, but only the message “terrible service.”
Websites like the Huffington Post, Raw Story, the Daily Mail, the New York Daily News and others posted the story as an example of racism in America. The Loudon County NAACP became involved, and a Virginia man opened up an online fundraiser that brought in more than $3,600 for Carter.
Carter’s boss, Tommy Tellez, said last month, after Carter reported the receipt, that customers were showing up to the restaurant and just “dropping cash off” for the waitress.
“I was appalled, though it’s kind of in line with the political landscape,” Tellez said at the time.
Though Carter’s story went viral, there were some early indications that her claim did not quite add up. For one, the receipt she posted online was printed several hours after Anita’s New Mexico Cafe closed. The receipt also bore markings showing that it was a reprint of an original receipt.
Hebda says he has reached out to Anita’s “and demanded that they set the story straight and find out who is responsible.”
It is unclear what will happen to the funds donated to Carter.
According to WTOP, the Loudon County NAACP says it is standing behind the waitress.
“It’s sad any way it goes,” Philip Thompson told the TV station.