A waitress in Franklin, Tenn., recently claimed to have received a receipt from a customer with “none” writen on the tip line, as well as a derogatory racial slur written at the bottom. Now, however, a handwriting analyst speculates that the two words were not written by the same person.
Another handwriting analyst believes that the racial slur was written by the waitress herself.
Toni Christina Jenkins, a 19-year-old nursing student and server at Red Lobster, posted a photograph of the receipt on Facebook (pictured below).
“This is what I got as a tip last night...so happy to live in the proud southern states,” Jenkins posted below the photograph. “God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee.”
After her story went viral, Matthew Hanson of AddictingInfo.org created the online fundraiser “Tips for Toni.” Internet supporters around the world reportedly raised an astounding $10,749 for the waitress.
“My initial reaction was just pure awe,” Jenkins told the Daily News after she learned of the donation. “I was just stunned and confused. I was like, ‘Wait, they are going to give that to me?’ It was a total fantasy in my mind.”
But the customer, 20-year-old Devin Barnes, denies ever writing the derogatory word.
“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,” said Barnes. “I don’t see color. I have many mixed color friends.”
Barnes reportedly plans to file a lawsuit against the restaurant and the waitress. According to the Daily News, Barnes’ attorney hired forensic document examiner Thomas Vastrick to compare the handwriting on the receipt.
“I believe within a reasonable degree of certainty that the waitress actually wrote the word,” said forensic handwriting expert Bob Baier, who examined a sample of writing taken from the waitress’ Facebook account for TheDCNF.
“There is evidence to indicate that Devin Barnes did not write the total entry,” Vastrick wrote in a report. “No significant handwriting characteristic similarities were noted.”
Vastrick also examined the handwriting of Barnes’ wife and found no similarities.
Following the incident, Barnes wrote a letter in which he denied ever using the racial slur.
“I do not approve of the use of that type of talk, not now or ever,” Barnes wrote. The letter can be read in its entirety below, along with a censored close-up of the receipt.