When Beatriz Castorena and her husband went out for a nice Mexican meal at El Valle Mexican Restaurant in Denver, they were served up an unappetizing side of racism as well.
Right there on their receipt for flautas and carne asada was a message: “you f****** Mexicans.” Understandably shocked and offended, the couple brought the rude message to the attention of the waitress, who called it “funny.” It was only after Castorena posted a picture of the receipt on her Facebook page and it went viral that she got a response from one of the restaurant’s co-owners.
He said it was a joke between employees that was never meant for the couple. He apologized and refunded the cost of the meal, which is great, but it should never have happened.
Unfortunately it keeps happening. From a customer at a Tennessee Red Lobster leaving a racist message for a waitress to a waiter at Huck Finn’s restaurant in New Orleans who wrote the N-word on a customer’s receipt, we’ve seen far too many racist rants on restaurant receipts.
It’s such a passive-aggressive, cowardly form of aggression. Sure, it’s tough being a server, and we’ve all been frustrated in restaurants before, but racism in any form is not funny. It’s hurtful, and every little comment, every little “joke,” slight or barb builds on the already fragile (at best) racial relations in this country.
What’s even scarier than these examples of racism we see written on receipts is how many of those we don’t see. There are many that don’t go viral, those that aren’t written down anywhere but that people still endure every day. We can’t tolerate them in any form; we have to do better.