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Waiter Admits to Racism Hoax after Incident Goes Viral

Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, Texas (Google StreetView)

A waiter in Odessa, Texas whose story of racial abuse went viral last week admitted Monday that he had made the entire incident up.

The 20-year-old waiter, Khalil Cavil, posted a picture on Facebook last week of a customer’s receipt bearing the message “we don’t tip terrorist.”

After raking in roughly $1,000 in donations through an online crowdfunding platform, Cavil admitted in an interview with the Odessa American that he wrote the message himself.

“I did write it,” said Cavil, who declined to elaborate as to why he would make the false accusation. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”

Cavil’s admission came after his employer, the Saltgrass Steak House, released a statement indicating that their investigation found he had invented the incident. The restaurant initially supported his version of events as the story gained national media attention.

“After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story. 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 equally disturbing,” Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass, said in the statement.

Cavil initially claimed he hoped his post would prompt conversation “about this hatred that is still going on, that is still here and prevalent. I just wanted people to understand that.” He now says “most” of the donations have been returned.

“All money is being processed and being return[ed],” Cavil said. “Most all of it has been returned.”

“I’m sorry. I deeply made a huge, big mistake. And I’m in the process of getting the help that I need,” he added.

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