A Close Encounter with Racism, 2014 edition

Tonight while having dinner at a local restaurant, I noticed a middle-aged Black man walk in.

They didn’t have a host or hostess, so it was presumably (as different people seated those who came in) everyone’s responsibility to watch the door. After several minutes, no one had come to help him, so he walked around a bit, and finally someone noticed him.

He said he was there to pick up his call-in order. After a few minutes, the manager came over and said they didn’t have an order by that name and was he sure he called the right place. The manager went on for at least five minutes suggesting he must have called the wrong place because they did not have an order by that name. She had one of the other waitresses call a restaurant down the road (people supposedly get the two confused) to see if they had an order with his name – they didn’t.

They asked the man again, “Are you sure you called us?” Clearly upset, he said, “yes” – checking his phone again to see what number he had called.

I missed exactly what happened the next few seconds, but he walked out the door and left.

Why didn’t they just say, “Sorry, we misplaced your order. What would you like? It will be ready in 5-10 minutes.”?? Probably because they “misplaced” the order on purpose! 

And, it must be noted, they were not busy – at all. There were less than 15 customers in the restaurant. Additionally, while this was happening, another (White) customer, came in to get her to-go order and left, without any delays or problems.

This is potentially the most blatant act of racism I have directly seen in some time. I have eaten at this particular restaurant occasionally, and prior to today, there were two things I saw and heard bits and pieces of that raised concerns about the possibility of racism being involved. On reflecting further, I can only remember there being two Black employees at this restaurant in the decade or so that I have eaten there.