Khalil Cavil, a 20-year-old server for Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, Texas, recently made headlines after posting a picture of a note left by a customer stating “we don’t tip terrorist,” with a circle around his name.
The customer was banned from Saltgrass Streak House and the community, as well as people across the country, rallied behind Cavil after the note went viral.
However, despite the national outrage and Saltgrass’s efforts to ban the customer who allegedly left the note, Cavil, admitted to the Odessa American that he had written the note himself, after it surfaced that the whole story was a hoax.
Here’s what you need to know about Cavil:
1. Cavil Posted the Receipt on Facebook Stating That “Racism & Hatred Still Exists” Before Admitting That He Wrote The Note Himself
The story unfolded on July 16 after Cavil uploaded a picture of the receipt to Facebook. On the bill, Cavil’s name was circled and the words, “we don’t tip terrorist,” were written at the top.
In a now-deleted post, he wrote: “I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists. Although, this is nothing new, it is still something that will test your faith.” Cavil’s Facebook page also appears to have been deleted.
On Monday, Cavil admitted to the Odessa American that he had written the note himself. “I did write it,” Cavil said, without much more explanation. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”
“I’m sorry. I deeply made a huge, big mistake. And I’m in the process of getting the help that I need,” Cavil said.
2. Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass, Released a Statement: “Falsely Accusing Someone of Racism is Disturbing”
Cavil’s confession to the Odessa American follows a statement issued by Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass, who has already reached out to the customer who was banned to invite them back to dine for free.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
Cavil is no longer employed at Saltgrass, although the company declined to specifically say if he was fired.
“All I can say is he’s no longer with the company,” spokeswoman Colleen Wagner told the Washington Post.
3. Cavil Had Received Money From People Around The Country Who Sympathized With His Ordeal
After sharing his post on Facebook, Cavil had received monetary donations, which he told the newspaper is now being returned, according to CBS News.
After Cavil’s story went viral, he had many supporters on Facebook who sent him money. The donations totaled up to about $1,000, but he said all that money is being processed to be returned.
“All money is being processed and being return[ed],” Cavil told the OA. “Most all of it has been returned.”
4. Twitter Initially Rallied Behind Cavil After News Broke of the Terrorist Comment, But Quickly Turned Against Him After He Admitted to Writing the Note Himself
Twitter rallied behind Cavil after he initially posted the receipt, calling out the alleged non-tipper for being a racist. Users flooded social media with support for Cavil and disgust for the person accused of leaving the note.
“OUTRAGEOUS. CHEAP. RACISTS,” Twitter user Zahra Billoo wrote. “The customers at this restaurant ate $100+ in food and then wrote “We Don’t Tip Terrorist” on the receipt after seeing the waiter, Khalil Cavil’s, name on it. He’s Christian BTW.”
Many users spoke of the impact of Islamophobia and xenophobic attitudes and the effects such racist thinking has on American society today.
“Khalil was subjected to hate speech because of the color of his skin. We must stop the Islamophobia & xenophobia. Share Khalil’s story,” user Simar wrote on Twitter.
Several users commented on the fact that Cavil is a Christian, to further prove how obnoxious an assumption it was for the person to leave no tip based on his name.
“Are you kidding me? A server named Khalil Cavil was left no tip & a note saying ‘we don’t tip terrorist’ at the Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, TX, because the customer thought he is Muslim,” Harris Zafar wrote. “Although he’s Christian the point is just how much hate Muslims are enduring in America.”
However, after news broke that Cavil admitted to writing the note himself, people were dumbfounded at how someone could go out of their way to accuse somebody of racism when nothing had actually happened.
Zafar posted an update after Cavil admitted to writing the note himself, stating: “He sought to ride the wave of true hatred that exists and capitalize it for himself. Sad & dangerous behavior.”
Several users commented on the issue of “crying wolf,” and how it puts people who actually deal with racism and xenophobia at a disadvantage when they try to have their stories heard.
Glenn Craven wrote: “DUDE … this is why people don’t believe the victims in the majority of cases where the story is true!”
“This type of thing just helps people who want to act like racism doesn’t exist,” QueenArlene wrote.
5. Leaving Racist, Rude Notes In Place of a Tip is a Rising Issue in America
Customers leaving rude notes in place of an actual tip has been on the rise in the United States for some time, although the age of social media has helped shine a brighter light on the issue.
A 2017 incident involved Fernando Franco, owner of The Italian restaurant, Di Frabo in Texas. The staff at a restaurant in San Antonio were disgusted after receiving a racist note on a receipt from a customer stating, “The food was tasty, and the service was attentive. However the owner is ‘Mexican.’ We will not return. ‘America first.’”
Another woman, Sadie Elledge, received a note that said “we only tip citizens” in place of a tip at a restaurant in Virginia. Elledge claimed the two customers “wouldn’t talk” to her, opting instead to “just not their heads,” she told local ABC affiliate WHSV.
In 2015, a Thai woman who wanted to remain anonymous was handed a similar “tip” from a customer at the California restaurant Bamboo Thai Bistro. In place of a tip, the customer wrote “Tip for U.S. citizens only,” despite the fact that the woman was a legal immigrant.