A hospitality chain has been criticised for its response after a 16-year-old employee was offended by a bigoted customer.
A hospitality chain has been criticised for its response after a 16-year-old employee was offended by a bigoted customer.

Restaurant slammed over ‘racist’ request

A white customer at an Italian restaurant chain in the United States demanded to be served by a waitress who wasn't black - a request honoured by the restaurant, according to another diner and an "embarrassed" employee.

Amira Donahue, a hostess at the Olive Garden in Indiana, said it was "hard to keep calm and collected" as the customer, a white woman, complained about her and another waitress during a visit on Saturday.

"Racism is still prevalent in 2020," Ms Donahue posted on Facebook. "After years of experiencing microaggressions and attitudes simply because of my colour, I never thought I would be publicly embarrassed like I was yesterday."

Racism is still prevalent in 2020! After years of experiencing micro aggressions and attitudes simply because of my...

Posted by Amira Donahue on Sunday, 1 March 2020

The unidentified customer sat with several people, including two children, Ms Donahue told NBC News.

"She made comments about me to my co-workers concerning my race and saying that I should work at a strip club instead," the 16-year-old said on Wednesday. "She asked if I'm even black and if I am from here."

A manager later complied with the customer's request, Ms Donahue said.

Olive Garden is a restaurant chain in the United States.
Olive Garden is a restaurant chain in the United States.

 

A customer at the restaurant, meanwhile, detailed what she saw, saying a few "white people" refused to be served by the waitress.

"The manager without hesitation ensures that they will not receive service from a person of colour," Maxwell Robbins wrote in a Facebook post the morning after the confrontation.

"That couple should've been refused service for even asking something like that!"

In an update to her post, Ms Robbins said Olive Garden "made a massive effort" to ensure that the incident would not happen again, citing reports that the manager had been fired.

"We got done what need to be done and it shows that we will not stand for racism of any kind around here," the post read.

Officials in Indiana have not received a formal complaint regarding the incident, but the organisation's local chapter is looking into it, WEHT reports.

 

 

The other server involved is not ready for an interview, according to the station.

In a statement to the New York Post, a spokeswoman for Olive Garden said the manager in question no longer works for the company, while adding that Ms Donahue and the unidentified waitress are still employed.

"The only person no longer with us is the manager," spokeswoman Meagan Bernstein said in a statement.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission


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