White Olive Garden customer demanded waitress who wasn’t black, witnesses say
A white customer at an Olive Garden in Indiana demanded to be served by a waitress who wasn’t black – a request honored by the restaurant , according to another diner and an “embarrassed” employee.
Amira Donahue, a hostess at the ubiquitous casual Italian chain in Evansville, said it was “hard to keep calm and collected” as a black waitress was disrespected by a white woman who complained about her skin color during a visit late Saturday.
“Racism is still prevalent in 2020!” Donahue posted on Facebook Sunday. “After years of experiencing microaggressions and attitudes simply because of my color, I never thought I would be publicly embarrassed like I was yesterday.”
The unidentified customer sat with several people, including two children, Donahue told NBC News.
“She made comments about me to my coworkers concerning my race and saying that I should work at a strip club instead,” the 16-year-old said Wednesday. “She asked if I’m even black and if I am from here.”
A manager later complied with the customer’s request, Donahue said.
A customer at the restaurant, meanwhile, detailed what she saw, saying a few “white people” refused to be served by a the waitress.
“The manager without hesitation ensures that they will not receive service from a person of color,” Maxwell Robbins, of Evansville, recalled 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, 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!” Robbins’ post read.
NAACP officials in Indiana have not received a formal complaint regarding the incident, but the organization’s Evansville chapter is looking into it, WEHT reports.
The server who was denied by the white customer, meanwhile, is not emotionally ready for an interview, according to the station.
In a statement to The Post, a spokeswoman for Olive Garden said the manager in question no longer works for the company, while adding that 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.
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