Last week, waiter Khalil Cavil said that he noticed a note at the top of a customer's bill that read, "We don't tip terrorist." The customer at Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, a city in western Texas, had also allegedly circled the server's name and left a zero in the tip field on the $108 bill.
"At the moment I didn't know what to think nor what to say, I was sick to my stomach," Cavil wrote on Facebook last week, sharing a photo of the receipt.
"I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists."
Following the incident, Terry Turney, chief operating officer of Saltgrass Steak House, issued a statement saying, "We stand by and support our employee. Racism of any form is unacceptable, and we have banned this customer from returning to our establishment."
However, on Monday, the restaurant's corporate office announced that Cavil's story was a hoax, although they did not reveal how they came to that conclusion.
"After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story," Turney told the Odessa American in a Monday statement.
"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," Turney added.
On Monday, Cavil also admitted to the Odessa American that he wrote the "we don't tip terrorist" note himself, although he refused to explain why.
"I did write it," Cavil told the newspaper. "I don't have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did."
Cavil, who received about $1,000 from strangers after posting about his "incident" on Facebook, is now returning the money to its owners.
"All money is being processed and being returned," 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," Cavil added.