Just as people from all across the nation were preparing for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, people are flocking to social media to condemn a South Carolina restaurant for its allegedly racist actions.
Michael Brown, a frequent patron of Wild Wings Café stopped in with 24 family members to bid farewell to a cousin leaving Charleston, S.C. The party of 25 waited patiently for 2 hours to be seated. Upon being seated, they were told by the shift manager that there was a problem: One white patron felt threatened by the presence of the party of twenty five blacks.
Brown says while he was talking to the shift manager, someone in his group began videotaping the conversation. Brown says that's when the manager became upset and refused to seat them.
"I asked her I want to be clear with you," says Brown. "I said so you're telling me I have to leave. She said I have a right to deny you service. I said so you're asking me to leave because you're upset because he was recording you, after we've waited for two hours, and after you've already pretty much discriminated on us, and she answered yes."
Brown said that after several calls were made to the corporate office in Mt. Pleasant and no return phone call, he took to Facebook with this message on Thursday:
"I will never go to Wild wings cafe in N. Chs again! We (Party of 25 family and friends) waited 2hrs, patiently and were refused service because another customer (White) felt threatened by us. This type of racial discrimination is unacceptable and we have to put a STOP TO IT. The manager looked me dead in the face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and simply she felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT... PLEASE SHARE THIS POST... We need your help."
That got corporate's attention:
"We got alerted through social media, so we always encourage our customers to respond to us or to comment on our social media pages," says Debra Stokes, the chief marketing officer for Wild Wing Cafe.
Representatives for Wild Wing Cafe say they immediately responded and spoke to Brown.
"We had a conversation," says Stokes. "It was a really good conversation. He and many of his family and friends were there about a month ago, and they are regular customers of ours. So, they were having a going away party, and they just didn't receive the experience that they have come to know and love."
While Mr. Brown said that he received an apology -- and an offer of a free meal for the entire group -- he still isn't happy.
"We weren't coming there for a free meal. When we came there that night, we were coming to patronize the business. This is not a situation where you can just give us a free meal and everything is ok because it's deeper than that."
Brown said his post had been shared 900 times on the business' Facebook page by Thursday evening.
Here's a photo taken immediately after the group was denied service, and as upset, angry, or just shocked as they might justifiably be, they still sure don't look "threatening" to me:
Here's something for the restaurant to ponder if they aren't already: You just lost at least 25 customers...because of 1 white person? Seriously?
H/T Daily Kos