A server at a New Jersey restaurant claiming to be a victim of homophobia has been accused of forging the discrimination for attention.
Dayna Morales, a former Marine and a server at an Asian bistro, last week told reporters she was denied a tip because she was a lesbian.
Morales, 22, posted a photo on Facebook showing the tipless receipt with a homophobic comment: "Sorry I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life."
Morales claimed to be "thoroughly offended and hurt" by the note, and accepted thousands of dollars' worth of public donations after the image went viral.
A local family recognised the bill when the story was picked up by national media, and contacted NBC 4 New York to reveal the alleged forgery.
The couple, who asked to remain anonymous, denied writing the comment. They provided a receipt that appeared to be printed at the same minute, on the same date, for the same US$93.55 (NZ$115) total, except with a US$18 tip.
They also showed a document they said was a Visa bill, which indicates their card was charged for the meal plus the tip, for a total of US$111.55.
"We've never not left a tip when someone gave good service, and we would never leave a note like that," the wife said.
Morales on Monday maintained she did not receive a tip, and insisted the handwriting on the receipt was not hers.
Asked if there had been a misunderstanding, she said, "I don't know. All I know is what I've been saying."
Former colleagues and friends have said Morales has a reputation for lying.
A manager and the restaurant owner initially said they had the receipt in question, but would not show it to media. They could not explain why the family's credit card had been charged US$111.55.
The restaurant later said in a statement it was aware of the allegations and had launched an internal investigation.
The couple believes a misunderstanding may have triggered the incident.
They said they thought the hostess told them their server would be "Dan," and when Morales showed up at their table, the wife said "whoa, you're not Dan".
Morales recently announced that people were sending her tips from all over the world. She planned to donate some of the money to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The couple said they had to come forward so people were not donating under "false pretence".
- © Fairfax NZ News