It almost sounds like the start of a corny joke: A family walks into a restaurant ...fill in the blank, but the fill in the blank gets dark in this story. Here it goes: A family walks into a restaurant wearing head to toe in Confederate-flag garb. If you’re Black, the Confederate flag is no joke, symbolizing racism and violence for us.
Last week, a restaurant worker’s story time about the incident went viral on Tiktok after she gave a disturbing account of what happened when a group of Confederate flag-wearing diners walked into the restaurant. As if their appearance wasn’t unsettling enough, they also had the nerve to throw racial slurs, according to the man who waited on their table.
In the video, TikTok user Nia said she witnessed an entire party of diners walk through the door covered head to toe in the Confederate-flag gear, everyone down to the baby’s onsie.
Unfortunately, a Black waiter, Arthur Mandy, decided to take the table because the white waitress on schedule was exhausted from working a large party prior, Nia said. From across the way, she said she witnessed the group refuse to talk to her coworker, spit racial slurs at him and refused to tip him on a nearly $500 bill.
“I was getting so mad not only because of the table but the fact I had to watch and hear them treating one of the nicest caring souls I’ve ever met that way and they were still able to stay in the restaurant,” she wrote in the video’s caption.
Mandy told The Daily Beast his firsthand account, echoing much of what Nia explained in her video, though he told other news organizations it wasn’t Nia’s story to tell. Mandy said as soon as the party walked in, his managers pulled him to side, advising him to let them know if they give him any trouble.
Read more from The Daily Beast:
Mandy said that he grabbed the guest’s water, but the man kept rushing to finish his drink to order another, as if he was challenging the waiter, consistently calling him “boy,” and never making eye contact. He said the rest of the party joined in on the older man’s tactics, laughing and snickering throughout. Mandy said he spent 20 minutes just on getting drinks.
Mandy, a father of four, said his heart was broken when a 5-year-old child with the group was directed to not speak to him while he served the table.
“He’s laughing, he’s engaging with me,” Mandy explained. “Then his mom chastises him in front of me, and she’s like, ‘You don’t need to talk. He has a job to do. He needs to concentrate.’”
“They can only concentrate on one thing at a time,” the older man allegedly added.
Well, that certainly sounds like more than trouble to me. How much racist taunting can one person take until they can’t handle it anymore? Mandy said at some point, he stepped outside and broke down crying.
Despite their constant complaining, N-word shouting and overall lack of decorum, Mandy said he still felt obligated to be on his best behavior - a feeling we know all too well. No matter the disrespect, you have to put on your best face just to avoid fitting the stereotype or slipping out of professionalism.
Nia said in another video, the attention on Mandy’s story lead to him raising $1,000 in donations for tips. But for Mandy, it’s not about the money. He told The Daily Beast he wants find a way for Black employees to avoid having the same experience he did.