Red Lobster customer to file lawsuit after receipt posted online

Red Lobster customer to file lawsuit after receipt posted online (Image 1)

The man accused of writing a racial slur on a waitress' receipt says he is the one who has been victimized and is planning to take legal action against Christina Jenkins and the restaurant chain she works for, Red Lobster.

Devin Barnes and his wife dined at the Red Lobster in Cool Springs on September 7.  The 20-year-old says he sat down to eat but changed his order to-go due to a family emergency.

Barnes admits he didn't tip Jenkins but also says he didn't write the N-word in the total line of the receipt.

Jenkins posted a picture of the receipt to Facebook and it quickly went viral, prompting an online effort that raised more than $10,000 for the Belmont University student.

Barnes' name was on the guest check.  He told News 2 his life has been turned upside since the picture was posted and he has received death threats from all over the world.

He says he was wrongly labeled a racist by people who don't know him and who don't have any proof.

Barnes said, “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. I don't see color. I have many mixed color friends.”

Barnes says he's also had to change his bank information and obtain new credit cards.

Barnes told News 2 he's confused and upset but taking it “day by day.”  “No one should go through this at all,” he added.

To prove his innocence, Barnes paid a renowned forensic handwriting expert to examine the writing on the guest check and compare it to samples supplied by Barnes and his wife.

“There is evidence to indicate that Devin Barnes did not write the total entry.  No significant handwriting characteristic similarities were noted,” the expert, Thomas Vastrick, wrote.

Vastrick came to the same conclusion for Barnes' wife.

Barnes says he just wants to know who wrote it and says the restaurant should have done more to answer that question.  Because of that, he is planning legal action.

In regards to the possible lawsuit, Mike Bernstein, a spokesperson for Red Lobster said, “No one has contacted us about this and we're not going to speculate about something that hasn't happened.  Our employee experienced something no one should have to experience and we remain convinced we took the appropriate actions, given the unique circumstances of the situation.”

In an interview last week, Jenkins told News 2 the $10,000 she received is helping her buy a car, pay for school and is helping her church.

She told News 2 if Barnes says he didn't write it then she believes him.  She also said she would've blacked out his name had she known it was on the receipt.

Barnes says he isn't mad at Jenkins but would like an apology.

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