Handwriting expert says that customer did not write a derogatory word on receipt and is suing:
The mystery of how a racist epithet came to be scrawled on a receipt handed to a Tennessee Red Lobster waitress has only become more muddled, as the man accused of writing the offensive word now says he plans to sue the waitress and the Red Lobster chain — and the waitress now says she believes that someone else wrote the racist word on the receipt.
The background is this: in September, Toni Christina Jenkins, a 19-year-old server at a Red Lobster franchise in Franklin, Tenn., served a $44.53 order to a 20-year-old customer named Devin Barnes and his wife. When she got the receipt back, she says, the word “none” was written on the “tip” line.
And underneath the word none, someone had scrawled the racial epithet, “N****r.”
Jenkins, who is African-American, then posted a photo of the offending receipt on her Facebook page, along with the caption, “This is what I got as a tip last night...so happy to live in the proud southern states. God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee.”
Barnes signature was clearly visible on the the receipt posted on Facebook by Jenkins.
Then the photo, and story, went viral. Media outlets, including Opposing Views, ran with it. Jenkins received an outpouring of sympathy. In fact, that sympathy turned to hard cash. To make up for her getting stiffed on the tip by an apparent racist, people started sending her money.
In the end, her “tip” totaled $10,749. (Jenkins is pictured above with a check for that amount.)
And then the problems began.
Barnes flatly denies that he added the “N-word” to the receipt. And his attorney hired a handwriting expert to prove it.
“A lot of people on the Internet who I don't know are calling me a racist, and I'm thinking people have their own opinion, but I know I am not a racist,” Barnes said. “I don't see color. I have many mixed color friends."
In a note written after the story went national, Barnes said, “I do not approve of the use of that type of talk, not now or ever.”
He says that he and his wife have been subject to threats and harassment since his name went public in connection with the story.
"No one should go through this at all," Barnes said.