At least three duped donors who gave money to a waitress and former Marine who claimed a family left her a homophobic note instead of a tip have had their donations refunded via PayPal, according to the founder of the web site that had first publicized the story and posts on the site.
Dayna Morales, a waitress at Gallop Asian Bistro, N.J., made national headlines and received an outpouring of public support and at least $3,000 in donations after she claimed a family stiffed her and instead left her a note on the receipt reading, "Sorry, I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life."
But after an unidentified couple came forward days later with a customer receipt and bank statement to prove that they had in fact left Dayna Morales an $18 tip on top of the $93.55 check, former friends of Morales also came forward claiming she was a compulsive liar.
Morales, 22, did not contact media directly with her story, but it soon went viral after it was picked up by a gay advocacy website, Have a Gay Day, which posted it on its Facebook wall.
"I am THOROUGHLY offended mad pissed off and hurt that THIS is what her kids will grow up learning and that I served in the Marines to keep ignorant people like them free," Morales posted, along with a picture of the receipt to Have a Gay Day on Nov. 13. "Sorry lady but I don't agree with YOUR lifestyle and the way you're raising your kids but you didn't see me throwing that in your face and giving you sh--y service. Keep your damn mouth shut and pray we never cross paths again."
The Founder of the Ohio-based website confirmed on Friday he had received messages from at least three people saying they had received their donations back.
"It has been confirmed that refunds have been issued to people that gave to Dayna Morales and the story we posted last month that she sent about the note on the receipt where she was not tipped," Have a Gay Day founder Michael Knote wrote on the Facebook page. "We're not sure who is exactly issuing the refunds but we have had 4 different people send us info that they received paypal refunds this morning."
Knote, 30, told ABC News he feels betrayed by the whole episode, and a "responsibility to find the truth" because it was his site that initially posted Morales' story. He said the last time he spoke to Morales was a few days after the media had picked up the story, but he hasn't been able to reach her since then because she has since taken down her Facebook page.
"She thanked us and also she told us at that moment that media agencies were doing interviews and she was going to donate the money to Wounded Warriors," Knote said.
The Wounded Warrior Project, a group that supports injured military service members and their families, did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News. LGBTQ Nation reported that a spokesperson from Wounded Warriors said Friday they had no records of any donations from Morales.
Shortly after the New Jersey couple emerged with their receipts, former friends and colleagues of Morales also came forward and claimed she is a pathological liar.
"She lied to me about having cancer and did a whole other mess of things she stayed at my house and lied to all my family and friends," Kiersten Lynn Bremer, 23, a former friend of Morales wrote on Facebook.
Bremer says she met Morales two years ago when Morales was then engaged to her close friend, Teresa Rivera, and that Morales was dishonorably discharged from the Marines and lied about having oiliodendraglioma, an incurable form of brain cancer, among other things.
The U.S. Marine Corps did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News for comment. A Pentagon source told LGBTQ Nation Friday that Morales had been given an administrative general discharge for failing to show up at required monthly reserve drills.
Knote said he felt "protective" of his online community and was disappointed that Morales was "dishonest," especially pulling a stunt like this "Around the holidays."
Gallop Asian Bistro says they conducted an internal investigation into whether Morales forged the receipt by examining security surveillance footage and their computer records, but that the results were inconclusive.
"Despite news reports to the contrary, this is not a simple, straight-forward matter and we have conducted our own internal investigation," the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page today. "In light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future."
Knote said while some people posted on Facebook that they had received electronic donations back from Paypal, he had also received complaints from others who had sent their money in the mail or in person that had not received their donations back.Also Read