What a wacky story. I admit that I didn’t pay much attention to it at first, because there didn’t seem much for me to say about it, but I saw it being passed around on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (ha ha, just kidding, no one’s on Google+). Dayna Morales is (was?) working as a waitress at a place called Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, New Jersey. On Nov 13th she claims that she served a family who rang up a bill totaling $93, and that they paid it but didn’t leave a tip, and instead wrote on the receipt: ‘I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life,’ And by “lifestyle” they meant that because she’s gay, which Dayna claimed she never mentioned as she served the family, but I guess they could tell just by looking at her. Dayna subsequently posted the receipt and told her story on Facebook and it quickly went viral, spreading across the internet like wildfire and Dayna found herself being featuring on TV news.
Soon after this story broke, people from across the world starting donating money to Dayna via a special Paypal account she set up.
Then yesterday the customers came forward to deny that they didn’t tip her, providing proof in their form of their copy of the receipt. And now many acquaintances of Dayna’s have also come forward to allege that she has a history of lying about major events of her life.
Well, so much for that.
I can see why people initially believed the story, it doesn’t sound that implausible, people have stiffed servers for other dumb reasons. Then you add in the fact that Dayna is an ex-Marine and, well, now you’ve got a nice juicy story we can all sink our outraged teeth into. As the first article I linked to wrote: “She can defend democracy overseas as a Marine but can’t get a tip in New Jersey in this instance because she’s gay.” Ooh, doesn’t that just tug on all the right strings? Except now we know it was B.S. And people are turning their anger on to her.
That’s fine with me, she deserves all the public humiliation she can get (although if the full extant of her history of lying is true, it sounds to me like she might have a serious mental problem that needs help), but one thing I find particularly interesting is all the comments accusing her of “fraud” because of the donations she received, and demanding she be arrested for that. But I’m not sure I quite agree with that.
First of all, who the heck are these people who donated money to her, and why? Seriously, let’s assume her story was 100% true, I still don’t see why that compelled anyone to send her money. She’s not the first server to get stiffed on a tip and, I’m sorry but, she won’t be the last. It sucks, but it happens. It’s not like she was claiming that she lived in abject poverty and needed that one tip in order to keep from being thrown out on the street and starving to death. I get that people probably thought that they were being selfless and charitable but, c’mon, a little perspective could have been used here. The bill was $93, assuming the customer paid 18% that’s $16.74 (yes, I had to look it up, I’m no good at math), which is what she would have allegedly been stiffed on if they didn’t tip her, but then people send in over $2000 of donations. That’s way overboard. My feeling would be, hey, I’m sorry she got stiffed, but that’s not on ME to make it up for her.
I recall another incident I saw being passed around on Facebook maybe a month ago, a screencap of a post where someone bragged about stiffing a waitress. The story was that someone went to a place where they were served by a woman wearing an OBAMA shirt, so after they were done a man told her someone like “Since you obviously believe in Redistribution of Wealth, we gave your tip to the busboy instead.” Assuming both stories were true, I’d actually consider the 2nd one to be a little bit worse, because this guy was bragging about what he did, saying the look on the waitress’ face was “priceless”, he thought it was funny. But, still, it never occurred to me to send that waitress some money either. The most I could see doing is that if I lived in that area I’d go to the restaurant, specifically ask for her section, and then make sure I tipped her well (if she deserved it). That’s a good enough way to make a statement, but just sending her money is stupid. Dayna did claim that she would be donating the money, which her boss promised to match, to some charity. But wouldn’t it have been better for the people to just donate to charity themselves, they could put it in her name if they want to, but there was no reason the money had to actually go through her.
So, basically, my attitude is that all those folks who claim that they were cheated now have no right to complain. That was the risk they took, when they willingly sent money to a stranger. It’s not difference than giving change to some homeless guy on the street who says he wants to buy food and then he uses the money to buy drugs or alcohol instead. You still voluntarily gave them money. Heck, I sent $50 via a Paypal to an online friend last month, for a specific reason that she needed. This is someone I’ve never met in person, but I trust her and believed her. If I found out today that it was all a scam, I wouldn’t try to get the money back from her, because I gave it voluntarily. So if it was wrong, that was my fault, lesson learned.
To me, the real crime here is not the money she accepted, it’s the ammunition she’s now provided to all the homophobes out there. The people who want to deny that bigotry still exists, and now Dayna Morales has given them a great bunch of ammunition. Just in skimming some of the comments in various articles about this, you can see the hatred spewing forth, with people calling her all sorts of hateful homophobic names. This just now makes it even harder for REAL victims of bigotry to come forward, as they’ll face even more skepticism now.
So, yeah, Dayna Morales? YOU SUCK.