The server at a Texas restaurant who said a customer called him a terrorist admitted Monday that he made up the story.
In an interview with the Odessa American newspaper, Khalil Cavil apologized for lying to reporters, but didn’t give a reason for why he did it.
“I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did,” he told the American.
A customer was temporarily banned from the restaurant chain when restaurant officials offered support for Cavil.
The story was shared widely by people and media outlets across the country and in Canada, including by Global News.
On Monday, the chief operating officer of the restaurant chain issued a statement saying their employee “fabricated the story,” and that he no longer works there.
“After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story,” Terry Turney said in the statement, which was sent to the Washington Post.
“Racism of any form is intolerable, and we will always act swiftly should it occur in any of our establishments. Falsely accusing someone of racism is equaling disturbing.”
Officials at the restaurant said the customer, who wasn’t named publicly, has been invited back to the restaurant for a free meal.
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People offered Cavil money to make up for the lost tip money after the story went viral.
The money will now be returned, he said.
“All money is being processed and being return(ed),” Cavil told the American. “Most all of it has been returned.”
Saltgrass Steak House officials didn’t say how they figured out the story was fake, but Cavil told the newspaper he admitted to lying.
He said it was the “first step into making it right.”