The customer that allegedly left a racist note on a receipt at the Ashburn Anita’s New Mexican Style Restaurant Jan. 7 has denied the accusations through his attorney. Lawyers with Simms Showers LLP released a statement on Feb. 24 on behalf of their client denying the validity of the racist receipt note that has gone viral.
The customer, who is not being identified by the law firm, said the receipt with the note reading “great service don’t tip black people” is fake. The man and his girlfriend were served by Kelly Carter, a waitress at Anita’s, and paid for their meal and left at 11:09 a.m. According to the statement from the lawyers, the customer felt Carter provided poor service during the meal, he didn’t say anything to her, tipped her one cent and wrote “terrible service” on the bottom of the merchant receipt that he left on the table.
“Unfortunately, someone re-printed our client’s receipt after he left, forged his signature and left no tip and wrote ‘great service don’t tip black people’ on the bottom.” the statement read.
Carter has previously said she did not post the picture of the note, as she does not have social media profiles. She said she did take a picture and send it to the owner of the restaurant, Thomas Tellez. Anita’s confirmed the receipt to be real at the time, ushering in support from the local chapter of the NAACP and officials such as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
One of her regular customers saw she was upset and asked her what happened, so Carter said she showed him the note. The customer then posted the picture on his Facebook profile, asking people to go to Anita’s to show her support, Cater said. From there, it caught national media attention.
In defending their client against the accusation, the attorney’s statement went on to say their client’s copy of the receipt shows it was printed at 11:09 a.m. The alleged fake receipt shows it was printed at 11:12 a.m. The attorneys said their client was no longer in the restaurant by 11:12 a.m. and could not have signed that receipt. They also said the receipt their client signed said “Merchant Copy” at the bottom. The alleged fake receipt does not say either “Customer Cop” or “Merchant Copy” on the bottom.
“Our client did not write that he received ‘great service’ because he believed he received poor service; his opinion had nothing to do with Ms. Carter’s race. Our client did not nor would he ever write anything about refusing to tip African Americans because of their race. Our client has no ill feelings towards African Americans. Our client tipped one cent out of his conviction against tipping well for poor service,” the statement said.
Simms Showers LLP has contacted Anita’s through their legal counsel and asked the company to investigate the incident prior to the Feb. 23 “Eat-In” that drew Herring and the NAACP. According to the law firm’s statement, Tellez said in multiple public statements the event did happen. The customer has since made Tellez aware of his side of the story and “demands” a response, his lawyers said.
Loudoun County NAACP President Phillip Thompson said he is waiting until Anita’s concludes its investigation before making a statement because the organization’s support for Carter was tied to the restaurant’s verification of the receipt.
“Whatever way it goes, it’s is a sad statement,” Thompson said.
Anita’s did not respond to the Tribune’s request for comment at the time of publication.