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Waitress 'Speechless' After Denied Tip for 'Lifestyle' Choice

Bedminster resident Dayna Morales, an ex-Marine, receives 'overwhelming' amount of community support after customer's note on receipt goes viral.

Gallop Asian Bistro Manager Gina Abello (left) said the restaurant employees have rallied to the side of waitress Dayna Morales, after a customer insulted her and left without paying a tip. Credit: John Patten
Gallop Asian Bistro Manager Gina Abello (left) said the restaurant employees have rallied to the side of waitress Dayna Morales, after a customer insulted her and left without paying a tip. Credit: John Patten
It's almost 5 p.m. Friday, and the weekend dinner crowd is just starting to build at Gallop Asian Bistro on Route 202. Incoming customers work their way around TV news vans in the parking lot, who came to the restaurant to speak to Dayna Morales, the Marine vet and waitress who posted a receipt showing a customer's insult about her "lifestyle."

But if the customer's aim was to diminish or demoralize Morales in any way, it certainly backfired: surrounded by a family of co-workers who rallied around her, as well as the outpouring from across the country, Morales remains upbeat and happy—even after countless interviews and repetitions of her story.   

"It's very overwhelming," she said of the response to her post. "I'm just speechless."

She said she posted the receipt online after a woman, with two children, refused to pay a tip on their dinner bill Wednesday, instead writing, "Sorry but I cannot tip because I don't agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life."    

Morales said she's been surprised by the response to her post—"I was just venting to my friends and family," she said.

The Rockland County, N.Y., native now living in Bedminster has been working at the upscale Asian fusion restaurant since its July opening, where, according to Manager Gina Abello, the staff has become one big family.

"We're all just very close," Abello said. "We go through everything together. All we've done since it happened is rally together."

Abello described Morales as "one of the most amazing people" she knows, and said she was livid and heartbroken when Morales told her about the incident.

"She's glad to be bringing attention to something that we all know exists," Abello added.

Ironically, Abello said she had talked to Morales about a recent similar incident at a restaurant in Kansas.

"We both said something like that couldn't happen here—but it did," she said. 

Restaurant Manager Bobby Vanderhoof was the first person Morales told about the incident, and he said he was shocked. He noted the customer first insulted Morales, making a joke of her name, but added Morales didn't try to have someone else take her customer, instead provided them with the service that Abello said is among the best available.

But, Vanderhoof noted, she was apparently good enough to provide service but not good enough to tip.

"And to write an opinion to try and bring someone down—it doesn't get worse that than," he said.

The restaurant has been getting lots of calls from prospective customers, as well as those calling to wish Morales well, which Abello said is fine with the restaurant's management.

Meanwhile, Morales, who served from 2009-2011 in the Marines and called her time in the Corps "the positive side of the military," was also inundated with calls, requesting interviews. She said the reality of being the focus of the news hasn't hit her yet—then tuned her focus to her customers coming in for Friday's dinner.
Ken Sosinsky November 15, 2013 at 09:27 PM
So, Morales "was apparently good enough to provide service but not good enough to tip", plus, I am sure the 'family' didn't have any issues with her service to the country via the Corps. Will we ever be done and gone with narrow minded people . . oh yeah, "liberty and justice for all" This UI lady is disgusting!! Shame on Bridgewater!!
Mark November 16, 2013 at 07:40 AM
You are as ignorant as the guest who fialed to tip. What do you mean, Shame on Bridgewater. Do you know the person who left this comment and even if you did wht condemn a town for one person's actions. Hide behind your military comments but you are no better
Lauren Blane November 16, 2013 at 07:59 AM
How can the first poster say "shame on Bridgewater"! You don't even know that this ignorant customer was from our town. You are just as ignorant as the customer. You just can't fix stupid!
Laura November 16, 2013 at 09:29 AM
That is so sad- that cheap horrible family. I am glad her employer stood with her. People have no place to judge others, if she did a horrible job - even with that, I still leave a tip.
12345678 November 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Looks like a publicity stunt to me....
M R November 16, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Hey, folks, here is a person doing a difficult job and according to her boss doing it well. She is part of a team where they support one another, denoting a good workplace. Along comes a cheapskate judgmental bigot who can buy an expensive meal then stiffs the waitperson. Nothing like finding an excuse to get out of a $20 tip for what sounded like a job well done. Give Dayna kudos for continuing to do her job with dignity and class after the bigot insulted her. And give Dayna kudos for being true to herself. My thanks for her service to her country. It takes strength and conviction to go through basic and do the job. We need to appreciate our veterans who work to keep this a safe and free country.
12345678 November 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM
How do we know these customers did not leave a cash tip? If they had the nerve to make the comment she claimed, I'm sure they would have been nervy enough to ask for a different table or server. This whole thing doesn't sound right. And the restaurant owners should not support the fact that one of their customer's receipts was posted all over the internet imo.
Mark November 19, 2013 at 07:29 AM
Good point 12345678. There have been people fired for doing the same thing (posting a complaint or receipt) Especially since you get a lot of imformation off the receipt shown. Hope this customer does not feel attacked and consider legal action.
12345678 November 19, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Mark, and this server went on to post on Facebook's Have a Gay Day page " Thanks everyone for your support - it took very fiber of my being not to spit in their food and say something. (Not gonna lie if kids weren't there it would of been a totally different story)" Definitely lost at least one customer with that remark.
12345678 November 26, 2013 at 09:55 AM
The truth comes out..... "But a family contacted NBC 4 New York claiming their receipt from the restaurant shows they did leave a tip, and provided what they said was a credit card statement as proof. The husband and wife, who asked to remain anonymous, showed NBC 4 New York a receipt that appeared to be printed at the same minute, on the same date, for the same $93.55 total, except with an $18 tip. They also provided a document they said was a Visa bill, which appears to indicate their card was charged for the meal plus the tip, for a total of $111.55." http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Gay-Server-Tip-Lifestyle-Receipt-Discrepancy-233040811.html
Esme St Clair December 10, 2013 at 08:11 AM
What a lying sack of you-know-what--oh and her "military service" was so impressive: posted to Romania and kicked out for not showing up for drills. Real credible complainant there.

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