email@example.com (Rhea Mahbubani)
INSIDERMarch 5, 2020, 12:21 PM EST
- A white customer at an Olive Garden in Indiana on Saturday flew off the handle after being seated in an area with a black server and screamed at a manager for someone else to help her table, a hostess told NBC News.
- The hostess, who’s also black, said the woman also “made comments about me to my coworkers concerning my race and saying that I should work at a strip club instead.”
- The manager complied with the customer’s request but was fired after the restaurant chain investigated, an Olive Garden spokeswoman told NBC.
- Maxwell Robbins, who was in the restaurant and saw the encounter, wrote on Facebook that “the manager without hesitation ensures that they will not receive service from a person of color” and that the customer “should’ve been refused service for even asking something like that!!
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A white woman at an Olive Garden in Evansville, Indiana, on Saturday said a black hostess should be a stripper and demanded that she be waited on by a nonblack server, NBC News reported on Wednesday. The manager on duty gave in to her request and has since been fired, the report said.
The hostess, Amira Donahue, 16, told NBC that the woman entered with a few other people, including two children, during the dinner rush.
“She made comments about me to my coworkers concerning my race and saying that I should work at a strip club instead,” Donahue told the outlet. “She asked if I’m even black and if I am from here.”
The woman became incensed when she was seated in an area with a black server, Donahue said. The woman shouted at a manager, who acquiesced and moved her to an area with a white server, Donahue added.
Meagan Bernstein, an Olive Garden spokeswoman, told NBC News that the restaurant chain does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and that after an investigation on Monday, “we made the decision to separate with the manager involved.”
Maxwell Robbins, who was eating at the Olive Garden at the time, chronicled the incident on Facebook and vowed never to return to the location. By Thursday, Robbins’ post had been shared over 2,000 times.
Robbins said the manager’s response to a customer’s refusal to have a black server was “disgusting.”
“The manager without hesitation ensures that they will not receive service from a person of color,” Robbins wrote, adding that the customer “should’ve been refused service for even asking something like that!!”
Donahue told NBC that she was so shaken by the encounter that she started to cry. Robbins told NBC he also saw her cry.
“The young lady was in tears and had no one to support her,” he told NBC. “So I felt if I didn’t write this post, nothing would have happened and she would continue to go to work for a place that she feels uncomfortable at and unwanted at.”
He decried the manager’s decision to put the customer on a pedestal and allow two employees to be humiliated, adding on Facebook that Donahue is the “sweetest host I’ve ever met at any restaurant.”