Couple faces racial discrimination at an IHOP in Mesquite

Couple faces racial discrimination at an IHOP in Mesquite

MESQUITE — CBS News Texas is learning that multiple employees have been fired from an IHOP franchise in Mesquite. 

This comes after a waitress was accused of not serving a couple because of their race.

"That is a very traumatic experience. You don't know what your thoughts are reactions are going to be until you experience something like that," says Keisha Mitchell.

Mitchell and her boyfriend Elvis Polley say they wanted to celebrate Polley's 49th birthday the day after Christmas. They tell CBS News Texas they are still in disbelief, after that birthday breakfast at their local IHOP turned into something they never expected. 

"When we got to the restaurant, we were told that we were not going to be serviced because of our color," said Mitchell. "It is a shock, and your brain is not processing what you're hearing."

Mitchell says another employee admitted that their waitress wouldn't serve them because they are black. Mitchell even recorded her and Polley's conversation with the manager and posted it on social media.

The manager says in the video, "one of our morning servers, she's 'picky.'"

"She didn't want to say she was racist, she said she's 'picky.' No, that's not being 'picky' if you're selecting only a certain group of people that you want to serve," Mitchell adds.

The manager told Mitchell and Polley the waitress has worked at the IHOP for 25 years. IHOP franchise - Anthraper Restaurants - sent a statement to CBS News Texas:

"Since our founding, we have strived to create warm and hospitable dining experiences for all guests, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, or actions that allude to any form of discrimination. We have fully investigated this matter and taken appropriate actions, including termination of the employees involved. This isolated incident is not reflective of our ongoing commitment to our guests and Team Members.

Additionally, we will be providing additional anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training to ensuring that all remaining Team Members understand the company's unwavering intolerance of any prohibited form of discrimination." – Alex Anthraper, Anthraper Restaurants

Through social media Polley and Mitchell learned that not only was the waitress fired, but the manager and another waitress as well. The couple says IHOP did the right thing with firing the waitress, but that the damage is already done.

"Just a traumatizing feeling you know? You can't get it out your head and I'm having sleepless nights. It is draining," Polley says.  

"It opened the door that I never wanted to walk through," Mitchell adds, "Have we, have we come as far as we think? Or is it just being hidden more?"

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