The Police were called to a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Denny's restaurant over two truckers who were doing nothing but politely wanting to order dinner while Black. The truckers were confused about why they were not being served. When it became clear they were being discriminated against, they remained polite and took out a cell phone to record the interactions. The server threatened to call the police over people wanting to order food at a restaurant, and she did!
Denny's has fired the server. The police apologized to the two truckers. I am unclear if they got to eat.
"'Maybe it's a misunderstanding, but we just want to order some food.' Then she said, 'There's no misunderstanding. I want you people to leave. The cops are on their way,'" Whitfield said.
Whitfield then tried to place an order with a different server. He says at first, it looked like the server was getting them menus but came back asking them to leave.
When they asked what they did wrong, the server told them that she had "no idea."
"It was just embarrassing. As I'm walking through the restaurant, I'm trying to explain to people that we were just trying to order food and they're refusing to serve us. People were still looking at us like we did something wrong. It was like the more I talked, the more they looked at us. So I felt helpless. Then I turned around to look at the police to see if they would do something, and then they said, 'Out this way,'" Whitfield said.
In the video, Whitfield and Hector explain to the officers what had transpired, and the situation de-escalated.
Denny's issued the following response:
Denny's President and Chief Executive Officer Roland Spongberg provided the following statement in regard to the incident:
"Denny's is committed to a culture of inclusion and service excellence for all guests. We conducted a thorough third-party investigation into the incident at the Denny's location in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As a result of the investigation, the franchise owner immediately took decisive action, and the employee is no longer with the company.
"Denny's maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination. We acknowledge there were opportunities to improve the service level in this specific situation. We maintain our commitment to ongoing training and development of all staff. The employees at the location will immediately go through a dedicated training program to ensure the team delivers above and beyond our guests' expectations. We regret this incident and want to apologize to the guests involved. Clearly, we fell short of our own standards that day and are committed to making it right."