It was the kind of story that every local television news station dreams about: A feel-good story of a minority who chooses the high road in the face of unfathomable oppression.
When Dayna Morales sent a receipt bearing an anti-gay message to a pro-gay Facebook page, she was likely looking to win over the empathy of a few dozen, maybe a few hundred, followers.
Instead, the receipt, bearing a hash mark where a tip should be and a message in opposition to Morales’ lifestyle, went viral. Someone, somewhere, republished it. Soon after, every local television station in New York City wanted an interview with Morales, who was all too happy to oblige.
It was the perfect story, told at the perfect time — November sweeps, when American TV stations air their most titillating news stories with the hopes of driving up ratings. Millions around the world heard Morales’ story, and thousands patroned the restaurant where Morales worked, some even going so far as to make donations.
Yes, it was the perfect story — for Morales, for the restaurant, for the media — until it wasn’t.
On Monday, WNBC found the couple who ate at the restaurant the night of November 13th. They produced a different receipt, one that showed a 20 percent tip and no anti-gay message. And to quell any doubters who questioned the difference between their “customer copy” and Morales’ “merchant copy,” the couple produced a Visa credit card statement showing the tip had been charged to their account.
Confronted with the evidence, the restaurant could offer no explanation. Neither could Morales, who told the reporter that the handwriting on the receipt wasn’t hers — even though nobody had accused her of writing it.
Two days later, friends and former co-workers are speaking out.
Friends say Morales has a history of embellishing. Some of the things they accuse her of lying about: Living in a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy, shaving her head because she had been diagnosed with brain cancer and being severely injured during combat in Afghanistan, where she served as a U.S. Marine (a military spokesperson confirmed Morales enlisted, but never served in Afghanistan).
What’s more, a former girlfriend told LoHud.com that the handwriting on the receipt that went viral last week belongs to Morales.
Morales, who took advantage of every media opportunity two weeks ago, is now turning down reporters seeking requests for comment.
This whole story makes me sad.
This is what makes me sad: I had a customer do this to me for real once. I was working in Barnes and Noble, and a family came in, mother, grandmother, and two little kids. They asked me about children’s books, and I took them to the kids’ section and made about a dozen recommendations.
The kids each picked out one book; their mom was overjoyed. I offered to write down a list of recommendations and leave it by the hold desk with her name, if she wanted; they lived nearby. We weren’t busy, so I accompanied them back to the cash register to ring them up. When they were all done, the woman thanked me profusely, and then told the kids to thank me. They chorused, “Thank you!”
Then the grandmother said, “Yeah, thank you, young man or woman or whatever you are.”
Her daughter was mortified - she gasped out, “Mom!” and maybe apologized, and then they left. I can’t remember what I said. I remember feeling horrible.
When this receipt story came out, people argued that it was a lie; those people are using this story to confirm their sense that LGBT people are lying about homophobia. This story is used to confirm another supposition: that LGBT people suffer from confirmation bias around homophobia, that they are more likely to see it where none exists. That LGBT people are, in their way, as prejudiced as homophobes.
The thing is, this story doesn’t confirm a suspicion. It echoes experiences a great many of us have had. We may be more likely to believe stories like this when they come around, but that’s not the same as being more likely to deny their veracity. One verdict is based on the truth - that homophobia is real - and one is based on a homophobic lie - that homophobia no longer exists.
I suppose I’m annoyed with this woman, but I’m mostly annoyed with the people who are using this to create a false equivalence between exhibiting and complaining about homophobia, and I’m really angry with all the people who decided at the outset that this story could not be real. It was plausible, believe me.
Vanessa VanDyke has amazing hair. Point blank. But it’s her hair that may cause her to get expelled from school. Faith Christian Academy in Orlando told the 12-year-old that she has a week to decide if she’s going to cut her hair, straighten it, or get kicked out.
Vanessa has attended Faith Christian Academy since she was in the third grade, but the school’s s code has rules against how students can wear their hair. The handbook reads: “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction,” and goes on to state examples that include, but are not limited to, mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.
The distraction that the school is probably referring to when it speaks of Vanessa’s hair has to do with bullying and teasing.
“A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another,” said VanDyke’s mother, Sabrina Kent. “You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?”
VanDyke said she’s had her large, natural hair all year long, but it only became an issue after the family complained about students teasing her about her hair.
“There have been bullies in the school,” said Kent. “There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they’re blaming her.”
“I’m depressed about leaving my friends and people that I’ve known for a while, but I’d rather have that than the principals and administrators picking on me and saying that I should change my hair,” said VanDyke.
So instead of Faith Christian Academy doing something about the bullies, they’re going to reprimand a 12-year-old because of her hair?
“I’m going to fight for my daughter,” Kent said. “If she wants her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that. There are people out there who may think that natural hair is not appropriate. She is beautiful the way she is.”
it’s hard enough for black girls to feel beautiful without those in authority sending the message that their hair is unacceptable. this story is disgusting and unfortunately not the first or last case. it’s a damn shame that every part of a black girl’s body is politicized, at all ages
this is so stupid …
I’m so proud of her mother.
I signed the petition. I called the school and left a message. I am not playing. And yall shouldn’t either. Sign it here: http://www.change.org/petitions/faith-christian-academy-confront-guilty-students-for-bullying-not-fault-victims-for-wearing-their-hair-in-its-natural-state?share_id=IYDUMdeZVj&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition
Reposting again for the cheap seats in the back. Let’s do something!
Faith Christian Academy has an easily accessible contact section so I suggest that you drop a message by them, whether it be through the site, a letter or a phonecall. There’s no penalty on your behalf and as unfortunate as it is, since private schools are separate from the county, flooding them with messages is the most convenient way of taking action rather than passively signing a petition.
This is more or less my impression of someone with MS Office skills. I figure next time I try it on, I’ll knock back a cocktail beforehand so I seem more confident. y/y?
Sara McKenna, a former Marine, became pregnant during a brief relationship with Bode Miller, an Olympic skier. While seven months pregnant, she moved from California to New York to go to school, leading a judge to scold her for “virtually absconding with her fetus.” Now, the fight for custody of their son has become “a closely watched legal battle over the rights of pregnant women to travel and make life choices.” (via bebinn)
Yes, she should have left her fetus to finish gestating with the father before relocating to New York.
Wow! The cover of my book Redefining Realness, available for pre-order now. Here’s 7 easy ways you can support my baby!
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I would love to see this in libraries
A woman from Pierce County, Washington received the dreaded Obamacare cancellation notice from her insurance company. Needing health coverage of some kind, she turned to the online Obamacare exchange, but that’s when she found out that she was being forced to join Mediciad, despite the fact that she doesn’t want to be on government welfare.
Before Obamacare Charlene Hopkins had a catastrophic-coverage health insurance plan that cost only $276, but after her Obamacare cancelled her insurance, her only option from the insurance company was $415, a price out of her reach. Not wanting to give up, she turned to the Obamacare exchange…
from Wall Street Journal:
She entered her personal and financial data. With efficiency uncommon to the ObamaCare process, the site quickly presented her with a health-care option.
That is not a typo: There was just one option—at the very affordable monthly rate of zero. The exchange had determined that my mother was not eligible to choose to pay for a plan, and so she was slated immediately for Medicaid. She couldn’t believe it was true and held off completing the application.
"How has it come to this?" she asked in one of our several talks over the past few weeks about what was happening. When she was a working mother and I was young, she easily carried health insurance for our whole family. "How have I fallen this far?"
In 2011, she had to give up her real-estate license; as a newer agent, she did not stand to earn enough in the tough market to justify the fees to renew. She has since managed to eke out a living as a substitute para-educator in the Central Kitsap School District. “I’m not on the couch, watching TV,” she said. “I’m out trying to find more work every day.”
Unable to secure employer-sponsored health care, she had, until this fall, chosen to pay $276 a month for bare-bones catastrophic coverage. “I think that we should be able to take care of ourselves and to earn enough money to pay for basics, and health insurance is one of them,” she told me. For two years she had paid out of pocket for that plan, but now she is being told that the plan isn’t good enough for her.
The Sept. 26 letter from my mother’s insurer promised that the more expensive plan “conforms with the new health care law”—by covering maternity needs, newborn wellness and pediatric dental care. My mother asked: “Do I need maternity care at 52?” In addition to requiring her to pay an extra $1,677 annually, the plan would have increased her deductible by $1,500.
But she had at least been presented with an option that she could turn down, unlike on the state exchange.
The situation sounded absurd, so I asked her to walk me through her application on Washington Healthplanfinder to make sure she wasn’t missing anything. Sitting in New York with my computer, I logged onto the site under her name and entered the information my mother provided over the phone. I fully expected her to realize that she had forgotten some crucial piece of information, like a decimal point in her annual income. We checked and double-checked the information, but the only option still appeared to be Medicaid. She suggested clicking on “Apply for Coverage,” thinking that other options might appear.
Instead, almost mockingly, her “Eligibility Results” came back: “Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with.” Washington Apple Health is the mawkish rebranding of Medicaid in Washington state.
The page lacked a cancel button or any way to opt out of Medicaid. It was done; she was enrolled, and there was nothing to do but click “Next” and then to sign out.
"I just don’t expect anything positive out of getting free health care," she said. "I don’t see why other people should have to pay for my care, whether it be through taxes or otherwise." In paying for health insurance herself—she won’t accept help from her family, either—she was safeguarding her dignity and independence and her sense of being a fully functioning member of society.
I so strongly admire this woman’s desire to stand on her own two feet and not be dependent on the government to supply her needs. It is a conviction of the very highest character that leads people to not take the easy way out of life’s problems.
Obamacare does not seek to see people stand on their own two feet. No, it seeks to take people’s feet out from under them. Obamacare seeks to load up Americans on the government dole and grow dependency on an power-hungry state whose appetite is never satisfied.
Would that our entire country was full of people like Charlene Hopkins, who see the moral transgression in forcibly taking somebody else’s money to pay for your own comforts. Sadly, we are not that country. We are a country full of takers and politicians who are happy to buy the votes of those takers with more and more government.
Insurance plans were only canceled if the companies refused to change them to comply with the (very reasonable) guidelines put in place by the Affordable Care Act. This woman was paying close to $300/mo for a bullshit plan that didn’t offer her comprehensive coverage.
And now her kids are being covered at no further cost to her. Boo fucking hoo.
Yeah, I’m like, not seeing the downside for her. Soooo she had $276/month catastrophic-only health coverage, which was cancelled, and now she doesn’t have to pay a dime for her comprehensive health coverage? And it’s a sad story… why?
Here are some choice quotes:
“I think that we should be able to take care of ourselves and to earn enough money to pay for basics, and health insurance is one of them.” Yeah, she’s right, we should all be paid enough to take care of ourselves. That’s something us evil progressives have been talking about for a long time. Fewer people would be on Medicaid if companies like Wal-mart and McDonald’s paid their employees a living wage.
"I don’t see why other people should have to pay for my care, whether it be through taxes or otherwise." Uhhhh… you realize that’s how insurance works, right? You all put your money into a pool and then when something bad happens, other people are pitching in to pay for your care. Older Americans have paid into Medicare their whole life, so it’s not "free" healthcare, it’s prepaid healthcare.
Again… I’m having trouble finding the part where I’m supposed to feel bad for her.
this is legitimately one of the most ridiculous and backward things i have ever read
Maybe she would feel better about being a leech if she could think of her role in the system as providing a benefit to a bunch of other people who have no other option. Or maybe she could donate a few hundred dollars a month to a charity.
But then again, I really doubt it upsets her that she can travel on roads and highways for free, or drink clean water for free, or eat meat that won’t poison her for free, or drive in a car with working brakes for free, or send her kids to primary school for free, or trust for free that the doctor she sees for free didn’t bribe his way through medical school.