By BRYNN GINGRAS
The New Jersey waitress whose story has been questioned after she claimed she received an anti-gay note instead of a tip on a restaurant bill was dishonorably discharged from the Marines last spring after she stopped showing up, NBC 4 New York has learned.
Dayna Morales, a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, had posted a photo on Facebook earlier this month showing the bill with a line through the tip area. The photo of the receipt showed someone had written, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle.”
A New Jersey couple came forward to NBC 4 New York and said this week that the receipt was theirs but that they had left a tip and did not write a note, suggesting it was used for a hoax. The handwriting, they said, was not theirs, and they also supplied what they said was a credit card statement showing they were charged for the total plus the $18 tip.
NBC 4 New York learned Wednesday from a Pentagon source that Morales was dismissed from the Marine Reserve Corps in May because she wasn’t attending drills. It wasn’t immediately clear how often those drills were held, and Morales did not respond to a request for comment.
She was stationed in Newburgh, N.Y., and began serving in July 2009, military sources said.
A woman who served with Morales told NBC 4 New York that the commitment is a serious one.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to think she was a part of my Marine Corps family, because she’s not,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous because she is still on active duty.
Others who say they knew her tell NBC 4 New York there were things about her background that didn’t seem to add up.
A woman who says she and Morales worked together at a Cheesecake Factory in Nyack, N.Y., last year said Morales told coworkers she had brain cancer.
“She came in with her hair shaved because she wanted to shave it herself before she lost it,” said Jacqie Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick said Morales also leaned on the cancer story to accept offers of help from friends at work.
Then, she abruptly quit, according to Fitzpatrick, and her coworkers didn’t see her again until she appeared in news reports about the receipt.
The Cheesecake Factory declined to comment.
Gallop Asian Bistro said Wednesday that it was still investigating and that Morales is not on the work schedule for now.