Cheddar’s customer didn’t mean to get waitress fired for online racist crack
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — An African-American woman who posted an eloquent social media response to an online racist insult from a waitress said she wasn’t trying to get her fired.
“I would never want to cause a hardship on anyone else, but at the same time there needs to be a repercussion for her action,” Chelsea Mayes told CNNMoney.
The incident happened at a Cheddar’s restaurant in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Mayes went there with four African-American friends after church on Sunday. She said their waitress was very friendly and they left her a 25% tip.
“In person she was great,” said Mayes. “She was a very nice person and she came over and laughed with us.”
But later than day, her friend recognized the waitress on Snapchat, with a photo of her scrunched-up face and this censored statement: “I’m so hungover and I have a section full of n—–s right now.”
Mayes said she was shocked.
“I’m human, so my feelings were hurt,” she said. “You think that you made a connection with somebody, and to go and see what she really thinks of us was really hurtful.”
The following day, she put a screen grab of the waitress’ post on Snapchat along with a lengthy statement about the two-faced way in which they’d been treated.
“You never truly know the person behind the smile,” she wrote. “No matter how much love and joy you spread, there will always be someone with hate in their heart towards you, regardless if it’s in your face or when you leave. It’s up to you how you handle it.”
Cheddar’s handled it by firing the waitress, who has not been identified.
“We, ourselves, were shocked and offended after learning one of our servers had posted comments on social media that were hurtful and derogatory,” said Lee Greer, president of the Mint Julep Restaurant Management Group and owner of the Cheddar’s in Murfreesboro.
“The server was immediately suspended and ultimately terminated after our internal investigation,” he said a prepared statement.
Mayes’ response to the incident has gone viral. She told CNNMoney that she hasn’t always been so positive in the face of disrespect, but the death of her 4-month-old son last year from a respiratory illness put things in perspective.
“You learn from something like that,” she said, adding that “life is too short” to let herself be consumed by anger.
On Monday night, after she posted her statement, Mayes said she took comfort from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, where she said, “When they go low, we go high.”
Mayes, a 21-year-old cosmetologist and day care worker who is attending business school, said she was later contacted via Snapchat by someone who claimed to be the waitress’ mother.
She said the mother wrote, “People are being shot by attack rifles and stabbings all over the world and you are this concerned over one comment that was made by a sweet cute little blonde?”
“My response to her was that last year there were nine people shot down in South Carolina by a sweet little cute blonde,” said Mayes, referring to Dylann Roof, who is charged with murdering nine black parishioners. “Does that make it OK?”
CNNMoney was unable to immediately reached the waitress or her mother.