A $108 bill from a Texas steakhouse, showing no gratuity and the words, "We don't tip terrorist," inspired thousands to speak out against racism. But though "racism of any form is intolerable … falsely accusing someone of racism is equally disturbing," the COO of Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa said Monday, revealing "our employee fabricated the entire story." "I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did," Khalil Cavil told the Odessa American on Monday. A week earlier, the 20-year-old had shared on Facebook the receipt with his name circled, saying it made him "sick to my stomach," per USA Today. "I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists," wrote Cavil, described as a non-Muslim black man who was named after a friend of his father.
After the post generated some 8,000 comments, per the Washington Post, Saltgrass responded by banning the customer who was supposed to have left the note on the receipt, though it now says that person will be welcomed back with a free meal. The restaurant declined to say how it found out the story was invented but noted Cavil is no longer working there. Cavil gave no motive for the falsity but apologized, noting he's "in the process of getting the help that I need." Cavil added $1,000 he received in donations is now being returned. "It was not about the money," Cavil had announced before his admission. "It's about shedding a light on an issue I feel very passionately about." Around the same time, Cavil's mother said her son "never expected how big this has become," per the American. (Read more Texas stories.)