PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Taco Bell says an employee who used a racial slur to refer to an Asian-American customer in Philadelphia no longer works for the company.
“We do not tolerate this behavior. This employee no longer works for the brand, and the franchise is retraining its staff to ensure this incident will not happen again. Management has reached out and apologized directly to the customer,” said Taco Bell on Tuesday, following reports that one of their employees used a slur to describe a first-year Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania over the weekend.
It apparently happened around 1:40 a.m. at a Taco Bell located at 1037 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia.
In Young Lee, 25, says he made a stop at Taco Bell after a night out with friends and ordered his food using the name “Steve.”
Lee says he usually uses different names because cashiers never spell “In Young” right and it makes it “inconvenient for both the cashier and me”.
So this time Lee used the alias “Steve” but it’s what was printed on his receipt that is leaving him angered.
“Our interaction was very ordinary and cordial even, until I saw my name on the receipt that read “STEVE CH**K”. I was so infuriated that I couldn’t help but to confront the cashier,” Lee writes on Facebook.
In an interview with CBS Philly, Lee says the employee he spoke with said there were three Steves inside the restaurant and the cashier claimed: “he needed to tell the three Steves apart.”
“It made me even more upset that he was protecting his case rather than apologizing, so I lashed out and told him that it is extremely disrespectful to use such a derogatory slur,” said Lee.
Lee says he decided to let the case go after the cashier “reluctantly apologized.”
But the incident didn’t stop there. Lee claims after sitting down to eat his food he overheard the Taco Bell employees laughing, using the word “Ch*nk” again.
“He used the word ch*nk again and they were joking about it,” Lee tells CBS Philly.
As the attacks continued, Lee says he ripped his food away from a cashier, who was not involved in the incident.
“The manager tried to calm me down, he said I was being disrespectful by snatching my food. I was dumbfounded,” Lee says.
Lee tells CBS Philly that he felt bad about making a scene but couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“It was as if he was trying to defuse the situation by redirecting the blame on to me,” he said.
Lee says customers and friends inside the store chimed in to his defense and he later left the store with an apology.
He says he wants this to be a learning experience for employees at Taco Bell.
“I want them to complete a mandatory training about racial consciousness. I want people to be more aware of what they are thinking, what their behaviors are like,” he says.
Lee says this is the first time something like this has happened.
“It’s never happened to me before. I’ve been called names before, I don’t usually address it,” he said.