Red Lobster customer has handwriting expert study receipt - WNEM TV 5

Red Lobster customer has handwriting expert study receipt

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The customer at the center of a racial slur written on a Red Lobster receipt last month in Franklin is speaking out for the first time and says new evidence proves he didn't write it.

"It's been horrific. I mean, I just have been getting all these threats and everything," said Red Lobster customer Devin Barnes.

His name and his receipt wound up at the center of the scandal, but Barnes says he now has reason to breathe easier.

"I'm not mad. I just didn't like what happened. I just wish it didn't come out this way," he said.

Several weeks ago, waitress Toni Jenkins posted a photo of her customer's receipt online.

"She was polite. She was cheerful," Barnes said.

But Barnes did not leave her a tip and says he left the total line blank.

So, when the N-word somehow showed up on the receipt online, Barnes knew he was in trouble.

"I didn't do this," he said. "I just asked my parents, 'Why is this happening to me?' I mean, I didn't do nothing. Me and my wife were just trying to go out to eat, have a nice time."

Weeks ago, Barnes' attorney and pastor, Richard Dugger, hired an independent handwriting expert who compared the receipt with samples provided by Barnes and his wife.

"There is no evidence that neither Devin Barnes nor his wife wrote that hideous statement on the line total, which means that someone else did," Dugger said.

In an interview Thursday, Jenkins said she posted the picture to make a point about racism, not to single out Barnes.

In response, more than 1,000 people across the country contributed to an online fund that collected more than $10,000 for the waitress.

For Barnes, he said there's no hard feelings but no closure, either.

"I'm not going to point the finger at nobody. I know for a fact me and my wife didn't do it," he said.

Jenkins broke company policy when she posted the picture online, and Barnes may consider legal action.

Bottom line, we may never know who wrote the slur.

Red Lobster officials won't share details of their internal investigation. The company did say it does not have surveillance cameras or anything else that might reveal who else came into contact with that receipt.

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