A Chinese restaurant has apologized after an employee wrote a racial slur on a takeout receipt, saying the employee misheard the customer’s name. Meanwhile, some restaurant workers said that it might have been a prank to take advantage of people with limited English skills.
Brandon Hart said he ordered Singapore noodles and beef fried rice at Chinese restaurant Eddie’s Carry Out in Washington on May 24.
When he looked at the receipt, he saw a racial slur for a black person rather than his name, Fox5 reported.
“Just flabbergasted that you can actually write that on a ticket or receipt or any piece of paper,” Hart told the Fox affiliate. “How can you write that word unintentionally and then print it?”
The television station showed the receipt to people outside the restaurant.
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“I don’t think I’ll be eating there,” said a man on the video. “I’ve switched my diet up anyways.”
“For real?” added another man. “I think I’m going to leave.”
But employees said it was likely due to miscommunication—or possibly a prank.
“We speak Chinese and our English is limited, so we ask customers to spell their names on the phone,” a server told Yahoo News. “We typed the name he spelled.”
The worker said that the restaurant’s staff, however, couldn’t remember who took Hart’s order.
“I don’t think anyone would do that intentionally,” the worker added to Yahoo. “We don’t have bad intentions.”
The worker said that the person who answered the phone might have thought that the customer said his name was “Nigel” and confused him with another regular customer.
“Maybe it was a prank call to make us look bad,” she also suggested.
Yung Lan, the owner, told Fox5 that the customer spelled out his name, and the restaurant then copied it down. Hart said he told the restaurant his first name.
“You know, I don’t know what’s that word. They write that maybe they speak,” Lan said, before spelling out the slur to Fox5.
According to the Fox affiliate video, Lan eventually apologized over the incident, saying it won’t happen again
“The customer tells, and we write down like that,” added Lan to Fox5. “They call in order, we write down there.”
Lan said that people have been calling Eddie’s to make death threats despite an apology.
“People need to be more educated,” Hart added. “Not just white people and black people. Just people in general.”
In the Yahoo comments section, some people believed it was a prank
“If you watch the news report of Fox 5 …extremely believable that is was a prank to get some publicity. First of all how was his order even looked up? Clearly not by the name. Second, how would the clerk know his race by a phone call. Owner mentions that they usually spell out the name as they are typing it in.”
Added another: “Hmm…I can see this person taking advantage of the fact that the restaurant employees English isn’t so great. He’s a regular patron. I’m sure he’s looked at the receipt before and saw they put his name on them. Sounds like it was knowingly done for attention, ala Jussie Smollett style.”
Wrote another person, “If it was a phone order….how would the restaurant employee know….and why would he type it on the order? Sounds like the customer spelled it to someone with limited English skills to get publicity….and it worked.”