Workers at a Federal Way, Washington, Denny’s insisted black customers — but not white ones — pay for their food in advance. They are now no longer employed at the restaurant.
The incident was detailed by a Facebook user Palmer Pellham and his wife, who are apparently white and were having a “date night” at the venue. Pelham recounted that while they were waiting for their food, four young African-American men entered the restaurant — and were welcomed with a dose of racism.
Instead of seating them immediately in the near-empty restaurant, the group was told to wait by the restaurant employees.
“There was only one other table occupied when we arrived,” Pellham wrote. “We were seated immediately. A few minutes after we sat down four young African American men walk in to eat. They have to wait about 10 minutes, even though the restaurant is empty, to be seated.”
Two white men who came after the African-Americans were also immediately seated. But the restaurant then went to a whole new level of racism.
A waitress came and took the four young men’s orders but soon returned with an unusual request: pay for the food before the chef start to prepare it.
“She says that she has had several people order food and leave without paying so her manager said she had to have them pay first,” she said.
The four patrons did not cause a commotion but quietly asked to see the manager.
“At this point my wife and I have lost our appetites, drop our forks, and tell the server we are leaving and want to pay,” Pellham wrote.
The couple told the waitress they did not like the discriminatory way she was treating the customers.
“She said she had several people dine and dash and she had to do it,” Pellham said. “I told her that being racist was not the way to deal with that situation. She began to argue with me and asked how should she deal with it. I told her to call the police and that if someone doesn't pay their bill that #Denny's should cover the loss. Her manager finally turned around and told her not to talk to me.”
The Pellhams left the restaurant vowing to never eat at Denny’s again. They then complained about the restaurant on their Facebook page.
The post went viral and got 19,000 reactions and 7,800 comments. After the backlash, Denny’s responded with an apology.
They also said the restaurant had a “zero tolerance for discrimination” and the employees responsible for the incident were fired by Denny’s.
As for the Pellhams, they have a word of advice for everyone: “Keep standing up when you see injustice.”
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Pixabay, Nishom