BRIDGEWATER, N.J. - In the court of public opinion they've been denounced as bigoted, inconsiderate and cheap.
But at Gallop Asian Bistro, the family that last week stiffed a waitress because they didn't approve of her "lifestyle" still is welcome.
"My initial reaction was a little angry but if they come here we can't stop them," general manager Byron Lapolla said Tuesday, a few days after the note that the family left for Dayna Morales went viral on the Internet.
"This is a public place. By law we can't stop them."
Morales said she introduced herself to the family at the table on Wednesday and the woman responded, "Oh, I thought you were gonna say your name is Dan. You surprised us!"
Later, on their $93.55 check, they left this message: "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life."
Morales, 22, said she never expected the attention that her story received. Television news crews have visited the Route 202 restaurant almost on a daily basis and customers who've heard the story have been pouring in, requesting Morales by name.
She said Tuesday that she's received about $1,700 in extra tips and donations as a result of the fanfare. Morales, a Marine Corps veteran, said she will donate most of it to the nonprofit Wounded Warriors Project, which advocates for injured service members.
"It was never about the money in the first place," she said of her decision to speak out about the note.
Morales, who is lesbian, never told the couple and their two children about her sexual orientation. She believes they must have assumed because of her short hair.
She posted a picture of the check and her own fuming rant on a gay-friendly Facebook page called "Have a Gay Day."
Her post went viral on the Internet and was picked up by national websites, including the Huffington Post. She said the response has "put a smile on my face."
In New Jersey, waiters depend on tips because the hourly minimum wage for them is $2.13 instead of $7.25. Lapolla said the restaurant later discounted an entree from the family's check so that Morales could earn a tip anyway.
Lapolla said he has received several requests to shame the family by name, but the restaurant will not.
"We don't want to attack the family," he said.
"If they came in I would not sit them with Dayna," he added.
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