TEXAS: The incident at Odessa’s Saltgrass Steak House on Saturday apparently centered around server Khalil Cavil’s name. The server had claimed a customer wrote “We don’t tip terrorist” on a bill and circled his first name, Khalil, which is Arabic.
Washington Post (h/t Marvin W) Cavil, a waiter from Odessa, Texas, said the note he received Saturday night from one of his tables left him speechless and “sick to my stomach.” The next day he posted an image of the note on Facebook, where it has since been shared 19,000 times and garnered nearly 8,000 comments, most of which were positive. “I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists.
The restaurant quickly pledged to “stand by and support” its employee. “Racism of any form is unacceptable and we have banned this customer from returning to our establishment,” COO Terry Turney said. Some supporters have since found ways to send Cavil money to make up for the tip he didn’t receive. In a follow-up Facebook post on Wednesday, Cavil thanked those who have sent him money.
However, “after further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story,” Saltgrass Steak House COO Terry Turney said Monday in a statement to the Odessa American newspaper.
“The customer has been contacted and invited back to our restaurant to dine on us. 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.”
Cavil is a half-black, half-white, 20-year-old waiter who speaks openly about his Christian faith and plans to pursue a degree in theology. “Khalil” was the name of a friend of his father’s who died in an accident. His father had thought about that friend a lot, and he liked the name, which means “friend” in Arabic, so he named his son after him, according to Cavil’s mother.
Saltgrass officials said Cavil no longer works at the restaurant, but did not reveal how they determined it was a hoax.