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North Carolina to PayPal: Give us back the welcome gift

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  -- In response to PayPal canceling its expansion to North Carolina over a new law about who can use what bathrooms in public buildings the state has demanded the company return its welcome gift: a bowl.

PayPal has given back the handmade oak bowl that was made from an oak tree struck by lightning last year on the capital grounds and was meant for companies coming to North Carolina, N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla told the Charlotte Observer.

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“We reached out to them and said, ‘Give us the bowl back.’ That is a North Carolina artifact from the North Carolina state capitol made by North Carolina artisans for companies that are coming into North Carolina,” Skvarla said.

The state made about 340 bowls from the fallen oak. Other bowls have been given to CSX, which recently announced plans to open a new intermodal terminal in Edgecombe County, and Charter, which has the largest apprenticeship program in the state.

In March, PayPal announced plans to open an operations center in Charlotte that would have added at least 400 jobs. However, PayPal canceled the expansion days after the passage of House Bill 2, which requires people to use restrooms matching their birth certificates in schools and many public buildings.

CEO Dan Schulman said the law “perpetuates discrimination, and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”

The state auctioned off the bowl for an unknown amount, Skvarla said. It’s unclear who owns the bowl now. 

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