The New Jersey waitress who received an anti-gay note on a check in place of a tip because she is a lesbian has received thousands of dollars in donations and is giving it all to military veterans.
Dayna Morales, 22, a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, N.J., said she has received nearly $3,000 in donations from around the world since her story went viral earlier this month.
“I’ve had people mailing in letters, coming into the restaurant to either just see me or hand me a check to say, ‘Here’s the tip that you deserve,’” Morales told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “It’s been nothing but overwhelming support.”
In order to, she says, “pay it forward,” Morales, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2009 to 2011, is donating all of the money she receives to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that supports service members injured in the line of duty.
“I just want people to understand I never did this for the money,” said Morales. “It was all about the message. It’s 2013 and this shouldn’t be happening to me or to anybody.”
After a customer dining at her restaurant on Nov. 13 left a note on the $93.55 bill that Morales would get no tip “because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life,” Morales sent a picture of the receipt to the “Have a Gay Day” Facebook page.
The receipt elicited thousands of comments, quickly went viral and was covered by news outlets around the world.
Morales’ employer, Gallop Asian Bistro, stood behind her through it all and has pledged to match the donations.
Morales is now working with the Wounded Warrior Project to coordinate a benefit event at the restaurant, at which time a check with the total donation amount will be presented.
“That way, it will finish where it started,” Morales said. “I’m beyond thankful for all the support and why not do something good with that.”
Donations to Morales for the Wounded Warrior Project can be delivered in person or sent to Gallop Asian Bistro, 793 Route 202, Branchburg, N.J. 08876, or through Paypal at Dayna.Morales12@gmail.com.