A waiter at a Huntington Beach, California, restaurant asked four Latina women for their proof of residency on March 11.
Diana Carrillo was dining with her sister and two friends at the upscale Saint Marc when the waiter told them, "I need to make sure you’re from here," notes The Washington Post.
The four young women were shocked, but showed the waiter their IDs.
Carrillo told the newspaper: "I looked at my sister and [my friend], and I said, 'Did he really just say that?'"
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Carrillo and her friends told a manager what happened, and he offered to seat them in a different section of the restaurant and handed them his business card, but the young ladies decided to leave.
Carrillo, who lives in Orange County, wrote about the incident on her Facebook page:
For a few seconds I thought maybe he was being a smart ass 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.
Carrillo’s post went viral, and the restaurant contacted the 24-year-old woman on March 20 to offer her and her friends a VIP dining experience, reports The Washington Post.
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The restaurant also offered to donate 10 percent of its income for one weekend to a nonprofit organization of the women's choice.
The young ladies turned down the VIP meal, but asked that the donation go to Orange County Immigrant Youth United.
Kent Bearden, senior director of operations of the restaurant, told the Post that the waiter had been fired, but also noted that the same waiter "had never received so much as a write-up" before:
I don’t know if he had an agenda or not. My concern is he violated a company policy. We’re very specific about how we treat our guests. That individual did not treat a table of guests to the expectations that we set forth in that company policy, and that caused him to be terminated.
Bearden said the waiter's actions "are something that you can’t control," adding: "The true measure is how you then handle it as a company. I feel very proud of our team and how we tried to take a proactive approach, trying to create a positive out of this situation."
Carrillo wondered if the waiter's residency request was a result of "who is president," a reference to President Donald Trump who has been outspoken about deporting undocumented immigrants.
Carrillo recalled her immigrant mother's words: "She always told us, 'I can handle discrimination. I know it’s part of my life.'"
Carrillo decided not to share the incident with her mom: "I actually didn’t tell her. I didn’t want to upset her. But she saw it on Facebook, and she called me the same day. I forgot she had Facebook."
Sources: The Washington Post, Diana Carrillo/Facebook / Photo Credit: Saint Marc Pub-Cafe Bakery Cheese Affinage/Facebook