We've seen a lot of nasty things written on restaurant bills, but I think this must be the worst. Student Toni Jenkins was waiting tables at a suburban Nashville Red Lobster when she saw the note a 20-something couple left her. Instead of a tip, she got the n-word scrawled on the bill. Ugh! Toni was so appalled, she posted a photo of the bill on Facebook, commenting, "... so happy to live in the proud southern states ... God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee."
I can see how that insult would sting. I don't blame Toni for responding the way that she did. She says it was a post intended just for her friends and family, and she just wanted some support and commiseration. But then her employers found out about her Facebook post.
The restaurant suspended Jenkins for a couple days while they decided what to do. She was suspended on full pay, but still -- what kind of message does that send? Is she really such a danger to her customers that they're afraid of exposing more customers to her? OMG, the uppity bitch who doesn't like being called racist slurs -- run for the hills!
I can see why it's unprofessional to post a receipt with an ugly slur online. While it's not the restaurant's fault at all, it's not great publicity for them, either. But I'm a little puzzled by the suspension. They say it's "standard procedure" for employees who post photos of receipts online. But under these more extreme circumstances, couldn't they have just had a conversation with Jenkins and asked her to remove the photo and not post any like that in the future?
At least Red Lobster sent out a statement condemning the racial slur. A spokesman says the chain is "extremely disturbed" by the incident. "We take this extremely seriously. This kind of language is completely disgusting and has no place in our restaurant or anywhere else, and we are committed to getting to the bottom of what happened as quickly as possible." Jenkins hasn't actually missed any days at work and is expected to return on schedule. I kind of feel like her suspension got blown out of proportion in reports, though I also think she shouldn't have been suspended at all.
At any rate, I'm glad Red Lobster is clear about saying bigotry has no place at their business. Like I always say, racism is not delicious.
Would you feel uncomfortable dining near the kinds of people who leave racist comments on restaurant bills?
Image via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr (N.B. This is not the receipt referred to in the post)