A quiet New Year's dinner turns racist after the bill arrives

Jan 2, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. ET

A group of six people attended a New Year's Eve church service and then headed over to an Arlington, Texas, restaurant — Shatila Lebanese Grill & Hookah — to celebrate and reminisce about old times.

They ate, laughed, and when it was time to go, they asked the waiter for separate checks. What they got instead was a gut-wrenching reality check of what it's like to be black in America in 2015. There in bold letters was the N-word printed across each of the friend's six receipts to describe them.

"All capital letters, just right there. I just did a double take. I was like, 'Wow.' It was just a shock to me," said Justyce Hill, one of the friends in the group.


They tried to remain low key and ask the server about the slur, but he waved it off.

"He just kinda downplayed it. He said, 'Oh no no no… I didn't mean anything by it,'" according to Jasmine Tucker, another of the friends in the group.

When asked about the incident later on by WFAA News, the owner of the restaurant was understandably humiliated and incredibly sorry.

"I'm just sorry, man… I'm just sorry," Shatila owner Mike Salame said. He added that the server was a new employee and had already received a couple of complaints from other customers. After the New Year's Eve incident, the server was fired immediately. Salame identifies the server as 18-year-old Ragheed, who is of Syrian descent.

The group of friends say they forgive and have moved past the incident. What else can they do? But it's sickening to think that in 2015, people can't go out to dinner without the threat they'll be called the N-word — or worse.

Sure Hill, Tucker and her friends know how to handle themselves. Being black in America requires a certain set of skills to deal with the next racist idiot around the corner. It's sickening and wrong and the day-to-day reality for millions of people in our country.

"We handled ourselves the way we were taught how to handle ourselves. I would forgive him," Hill said.

Pretty classy. I wonder how many of us would react in the same way?

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