by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
There are few things in this world that are off-limits to even the most heinous of liars. Military service - a heroic, all-volunteer thing that many Americans dream about but only a relative few actually do - during a time of war is one of them. Another thing you will find on that same list of do's and don'ts for the morally corrupt is lying about being the victim of a hate crime. It's sick. It diminishes each and every legitimate victim and spits in their face for good measure. But karma has an interesting way of coming back, and whether that is a good or bad thing remains entirely up to each of us.
Dayna Morales is learning that lesson right at this moment. And it would seem that karma is in a bad mood (karma seems to get that way when lied to).
A few weeks ago, Morales, a former U.S. Marine and out Lesbian working as a server at the Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, New Jersey, announced that a party of bigoted customers left no tip on their receipt, instead writing, 'I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.'
The family's bill was nearly $100, and after she broke the 'news' to reporters via a Gay-friendly Facebook page called 'Have a Gay Day,' many people rallied behind the Bedminster, N.J., 22-year-old. She posted a picture of the receipt and said she only posted about the injustice because 'others need to be informed that this is still going on.'
Morales seemed genuine - after all, as far as anyone knew, she was a war hero. You see, when you are a veteran of war and an out Lesbian, not too many people are going to ask you to 'prove it.' As I have said, these are not subjects that people who really are traumatized by the horrors of war or who have been the victim of a hate crime think should be made into a mockery through lies, however serious or little and white they might be. Hate crimes and PTSD are a big fucking deal to those effected by them.
A 'HISTORY OF LYING'
It only took a few days before national news outlets picked up the story which had been, not surprisingly, reported by non-journalists on several blogs. But many mainstream professionals got it wrong too, it would seem. Again, this isn't the sort of thing people lie about. Only, in this case, as NBC News 4 New York would report on Monday, Morales not only lied about the incident but, as former friends and colleagues said, she has a 'history of lying.'
Some of the lies Morales has been caught in include telling co-workers she shaved her head because she had brain cancer - later telling them it was her friend who had brain cancer. She also claimed to be the victim of Superstorm Sandy, allegedly telling co-workers at a daycare center where she once worked that the storm severely damaged her home in Stony Point, sending a boat into her living room. But when concerned co-workers dropped by her home and found only minor damage to the carpet by her front door and no sign of a boat, they realized they'd been lied to.
'Every story she comes up with has a lie,' said Julie Howat, 23, of Pomona, N.Y.
After News 4 reported that the accused family at the Gallop Asian Bistro, who asked to remain anonymous, produced their copy of the receipt and credit card statement showing the family of four left an $18 tip on a $93.55 bill, the media (always a double-edged sword) began to dig a little deeper into Morales' past - and that is when they found more than they thought they would.
'Any tragedy that happened, she had to be a part of it,' Howat said. 'She needed sympathy and empathy.'
But this case has incensed Howat because people from all over the world were sending Morales money after hearing the story.
'It's like she's taking it to a whole other level,' Howat said. 'Now you're lying to people to get their money. It's not even for sympathy now.'
Karolee Larkin, 23, a former classmate who also worked with her at the daycare center, said, 'You can't believe much of what she says.'
IT GETS WORSE
Morales also told people she was a former Marine who was sent to Afghanistan, and that everyone in her platoon died in an explosion except her, Larkin and Howat both said.
According to them, Morales claimed the explosion left her with back injuries that required surgery and a couple of months to recover. But during her time off, Morales posted photos of herself on Facebook enjoying a trip to Florida with a girlfriend, Larkin reported.
Samantha Reidy, who dated Morales for a month a couple of years ago, said Morales appeared to have undergone the back surgery, and sent pictures of herself in pain.
But Reidy said Morales told her that she had a quick recovery that allowed her to take the trip.
Morales, who apparently stopped all contact with Reidy shortly after taking the trip to visit another girlfriend, got engaged to the other woman when she returned.
Reidy produced poems penned by Morales during their dating, which match the writing on the restaurant receipt, suggesting Morales wrote the note on the receipt herself.
'She lies about everything,' Reidy said.
And the lies didn't stop there. A spokesman for the Marines, Major Shawn Haney, said that Morales had served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from July 13, 2009, to May 21 of this year at the rank of Lance Corporal (E-3) as an administrative specialist.
She was assigned to the Marine Air Group 49, 4th Marine Air Wing out of Newburgh and deployed from April to June 2012 to Romania as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force 11.
For anyone wondering where Romania is, it isn't Afghanistan. It's a country in Eastern Europe, not a war-torn nation in mountainous south-central Asia.
'There is no indication of combat service in Iraq or Afghanistan,' Haney added in a follow-up email to News 4. Also, 'While [Morales] did not fulfill her reserve obligation, per the Privacy Act, administrative actions are not releasable. The same applies to character of service and type of discharge.'
When confronted by a News 4 reporter about the receipt, Morales reportedly said, 'It's not my handwriting. I don't know.'
Gallop Asian Bistro manager Byron Lapola on Tuesday told the Courier News of central New Jersey that the eatery, which opened three months ago, would not comment until they finish their investigation. Lapola said Morales was 'currently not on the schedule' to work.
The same social media users and blog readers that slammed the anonymous family in thousands of Facebook and online comments have predictably turned on Morales as well as the restaurant, calling for a boycott of the eatery.
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