As the waiter walked up to the table, Carrillo figured she’d splurge on the grilled-cheese sandwich and pay the $2 up-charge to add some of the restaurant’s signature bacon. To start, maybe she’d share a watermelon and cheese plate with her sister and friends.
But the mood soured quickly after the waiter appeared. Before he could serve the four Latina women, he said, they needed to show proof of residency. “I need to make sure you’re from here,” he said.
Flummoxed, the four women handed over their IDs. But as what was happening sank in, they fumed. “I looked at my sister and [my friend], and I said, did he really just say that?”
A few moments later, they walked over to the manager and told him what had happened. He offered them a separate section and his business card to make things right — but they had already decided to leave.
Still livid a few hours later, Carrillo, a 24-year-old business analyst from Orange County, Calif., posted about the incident on Facebook:
“For a few seconds I thought maybe he was being a smart a– or joking but the fact that he said ‘I need to make sure you’re from here before I serve you’ was completely unacceptable.
How many others has he said this too? I hope this employee is reprimanded for his actions. No establishment should tolerate discriminatory actions from their employees. PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!”
People did. In a week, Carrillo’s post had been shared more than 600 times, and more than 100 people had posted comments.
Seeing the social media backlash, the restaurant’s management contacted Carrillo that Monday. They offered a VIP experience at the restaurant and pledged to donate 10 percent of the weekend’s proceeds to a nonprofit organization of the group’s choice. The four women declined the lavish meal, but asked that the restaurant donate the money to Orange County Immigrant Youth United.