Last week, a server at an Odessa, Texas, steakhouse claimed that a customer wrote a racist statement on a receipt. In response, the restaurant chain backed their employee and banned the customer. Now, Saltgrass says that they have fired the employee after learning he made up the whole story.
Khalil Cavil, the Odessa waiter who made the original claim, told the Odessa American newspaper that he lied and wrote the remark on the receipt himself.
“I did write it,” Cavil said in an interview where he apologized to the reporter for lying. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”
Saltgrass management reacted quickly, terminating Cavil from his employment at the restaurant.
“After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story,” Terry Turney, the chief operating officer of Saltgrass steakhouses, said in a statement. “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.”
In a post on Facebook earlier this month, Cavil claimed that the customer had left no tip on his bill and that the customer wrote “we don’t tip terrorist” on the receipt with Cavil’s name circled. It’s not clear if all or only part of the receipt was altered.
Cavil has not given any additional explanation for his action and it appears his original Facebook post has been deleted. The post received a great deal of national attention, with about 8,000 comments on social media including some from people who offered Cavil money. The former waiter told the Odessa American that he was returning the money.
Salltgrass officials have not commented on how they learned the story was false. Cavil said he informed them Sunday night. The restaurant, which is part of the Landry’s, Inc. company, has invited the customer back to dine free at the steakhouse.