WASHINGTON — Last month, a waitress at a Loudoun County restaurant said she was stiffed out of a tip on a bill by a couple who wrote at the bottom of the check that they “don’t tip Black people.” On Friday, a lawyer saying he represented one of the customers said the story is false.
Daniel Hebda, of the law firm Simms Showers, said in a statement that he represents the couple who ate at Anita’s New Mexico Style Café, in Ashburn, on Jan. 7. The bill came to $30.52, and as NBC Washington first reported, waitress Kelly Carter said that while the couple paid the bill, they left without tipping, writing instead on the bottom of the check, “great service don’t tip Black people.”
Hebda said that their client actually tipped Carter — a penny — and that the amount had nothing to do with Carter’s race but her service. Hebda says his client claims that Carter’s service was “poor,” and that the note he wrote on the bottom of the bill was “terrible service.”
Hebda claims that someone reprinted the receipt, forged his client’s signature and lack of tip, then wrote the racist note on the bottom.
“Our client did not nor would he ever write anything about refusing to tip African Americans because of their race,” Hebda said in the statement. “Our client has no ill feelings towards African Americans. Our client did not leave e $0.00 tip. Our client tipped $0.01 out of his own conviction against tipping well for poor service.”
Hebda adds that they have contacted the lawyers for Anita’s “and demanded that they set the story straight and find out who is responsible.”
Thomas Tellez, the owner of Anita’s, said at the time that the note was “disheartening” and added, “I am outraged.” Hebda said that “our client is unaware of what Mr. Tellez knew at the time he made that statement, but our client … demands a response.”
A request for comment from Tellez and the restaurant has not yet been answered.
Philip Thompson, the president of the Loudoun County NAACP, told WTOP the organization was standing behind Carter, but that the restaurant was looking into the matter.
“It’s sad any way it goes,” Thompson said.
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.