Editor’s note: On July 23, the waiter admitted the story he recounted was a lie, and that he wrote the note himself. Read the updated story here. The original reporting appears below.
The bill came up to $108.73, but the customer left no tip, circled server Khalil Cavil’s name and wrote, “We don’t Tip Terrorist” above it.
Cavil, who works at a Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, Tex., said the note made him “sick to my stomach.”
“I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists. Although, this is nothing new, it is still something that will test your faith,” Cavil wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
“All day I’ve had to remind myself that Jesus died for these people too. I have decided to let this encourage me, and fuel me to change the world the only way I know how. So to all the haters out there, keep talkin, your only helping me step into my destiny!”
The restaurant said the customer will not be allowed to dine there again.
“We stand by and support our employee. Racism of any form is unacceptable and we have banned this customer from returning to our establishment,” the chief operating officer of the restaurant chain said in a statement.
Cavil told KMID that he doesn’t have any Middle Eastern heritage, and that his father, who was in the military, named him after a friend and fellow war veteran who was killed in an accident.
The 20-year-old said he received thousands of messages of encouragement and support, with several people even sending tips of their own.
He took to Facebook again on Wednesday to thank people for their support, and said he would donate the funds to his church.
“I want to make it very clear that this was never about the tip nor the money. It was about shedding a light on racism and sharing the love of Jesus. It was about igniting conversations because I believe real change happens when we start talking about the issue and acknowledging its there,” Cavil wrote.
“With much prayer, I have decided to put all of the funds I have received into missionary work through my home church. This will help other people spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to different places around the world.”
The name “Khalil” means “friend” in Arabic.
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