- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Missouri waitress who described two of her customers as “black couple” on a restaurant receipt is now reportedly out of a job.

Kimberli Wilson said she noticed the description when she and a friend were dining at Patrick’s Westport Grill in Maryland Heights on July 18, a local Fox affiliate reported.

“I was frustrated,” Ms. Wilson told the station. “I was angry. I was thinking, ‘Really? Are we still doing this in 2015?’ “

The waitress, who was fired, said she used the label to help remember her table numbers, a local ABC affiliate reported.

“She could have said first table, table at front door, man with coral shirt,” Ms. Wilson said. “There are so many other options that she could have chosen other than that. That’s unacceptable.”

The restaurant’s owner, Patrick Hanon, wrote on Facebook that he sincerely apologizes for the “unacceptable act that is not symbolic of our company values or beliefs. We do not tolerate this behavior and have a zero tolerance for this behavior.”

“We’ve already had lineups with all of our servers and bartenders … but I’m also going to bring in a consultant to give some diversity training so we all understand what it’s all about,” Mr. Hanon told Fox.

He also met with Ms. Wilson and her friend to apologize and offer them unlimited meals.

The reaction to Mr. Hanon’s Facebook apology was largely negative, with many commenters taking the side of the fired employee.

“At restaurant and bars you see this type of thing all the time, the waiter/waitress identify customer by features to remember who’s who,” Hamlet Caminero wrote. “The blond, the couple with the crying kid, white old man with glasses, etc .. this is not racism!! You just fired someone because you didn’t have the guts to have your employee’s back.”

“People are so easily offended!” Joanne Marshall wrote. “If the waitress treated the couple well and gave them excellent service there is no reason for them to be offended. She chose to identify them by the easiest and most noticeable fact about them. She didn’t injure them in any way. Unfortunately, I understand you’re doing damage control, but if this is the only issue you had with this waitress, you were wrong in firing her.”

A later post by the restaurant on Tuesday rebuked the negative comments.

“Dear Patrons and Followers, Patrick’s is a place of love, acceptance and delicious food,” the statement said. “Please know we do not endorse or support the negative comments being shared on our page. We seek to foster a fabulous menu and a positive environment where all feel appreciated and at home. Thank you for the past 33 years. We look forward to another 33.”

“You went overboard, you took income away from someone who more than likely needed the job over NOTHING,” Sharon Morrison Bundy responded. “While the ones offended can sit back and enjoy ruining someone’s life. How is that love, acceptance and a positive work environment for anyone? Its not.”

Her comment received 139 likes, compared to the restaurant’s 25.

As for Ms. Wilson, she said she accepted Mr. Hanon’s apology and will continue to dine at Patrick’s in the future.

“If someone extends an apology to me, I will always accept an apology,” she said.

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