An incident of racial profiling at a restaurant in New England has gone viral after an onlooker talked about it and let everyone know about his outrage on social media.
The latest incident occurred at an IHOP in Auburn, Maine, where a server asked for a group of Black teenagers to pay for their meals before being served. But Avery Gagne, a white customer, who was seated with his parents in the establishment at the time of the incident.
Remembering what happened
“We paid and sat there for a few minutes and I heard an employee tell the table that they were going to need to pay upfront and that it was ‘a new generation thing,’” wrote Gagne in a lengthy Facebook post.space“>
“I kept thinking to myself that I have been to many restaurants with my teenage friends and have never had to pay upfront?”
He continued, “I called over the group and asked them if they were seriously being asked to pay upfront and they said ‘yes.’ So my father, mother and I stood up and began to question why this was happening. I myself was already quite worked up as I knew exactly why this was happening,” he admitted.
“The woman who requested they pay upfront came over and began to tell us… it was what management asked her to do as they have had walk outs etc. She then looked at my parents and I and said ‘it’s not because of their color.’”
Gagne says that the teens told he and his parents that it was okay, although it was obviously. His worry was that it was taken way too lightly, when it’s an obvious act of discrimination. “I will not stand for this,” he wrote.
The Auburn manager, Melvin Escobar, said that they’re “trying to let everybody know that we’re not racist.”
“We treat everybody the same and basically we’re here to serve you and give you the best experience ever,” he said. Escobar reportedly suspended the server for a week without pay.
IHOP’s President Darren Rebelez, however, said in a statement to the Lewiston Sun Journal that the treatment of the teens goes against the restaurant chain’s policy.
“IHOP and our franchisees have zero tolerance for actions that are or allude to discrimination of any type. The franchisee of this location is working to contact the affected guests directly to apologize for this incident and are taking appropriate actions in line with their HR policies,” the statement noted. “For 60 years, IHOP and our franchisees have strived to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this isolated incident is not reflective of that ongoing commitment.”