Liryca Neville Branch, the daughter of Cyril Neville of the famous Neville Brothers musical family, was enjoying her lunch hour with a few co-workers — Branch, 33, works in the field of marketing — on Thursday, but she was dissatisfied with her meal, a catfish entree. So she sent it back.
Most restaurants in that situation, at least those that want to retain their customers, take back the food and replace it with another dish at the patron’s request. Well, in this case, Huck Finn’s Café in New Orleans did refund Branch’s money, deducting 16 bucks from her receipt.
But the same receipt also contained a highly disturbing surprise. Whoever printed up the restaurant check included the racial slur “n****r,” followed by the phrase “100% Dislike.”
Needless to say, Branch was appalled and more than a little offended. She approached an employee and asked to speak to a manager. Instead, an employee basically told her to chill out, because printing hateful racial invective on customer receipts was just “a joke employees play on black employees who work ‘in the back’ of the restaurant,” according to what Branch told The New York Daily News.
That was not exactly the excuse Branch wanted to hear. How calling a paying customer a “n****r” hardly seemed like “a joke.”
“This is unacceptable. I couldn’t sleep last night,” Branch said in an interview with the Daily News. “It’s 2015. You would think that we wouldn’t have to deal with this stuff right now. It just shows that racism is alive and well.”
“It’s really crazy to witness that,” Branch’s outraged mom, Gaynielle Neville, told the paper. “You’re supposed to conduct yourself in a responsible manner. You’re supposed to treat people as human beings.”
Huck Finn’s Café moved quickly to contain the damage in a city where more than 60 percent of the residents are black — not mention the fact that Branch comes from a family looked on as musical royalty in New Orleans — giving the employee who printed the racist receipt walking papers the same day.
The employee was not named, however.
In a statement on the Huck Finn’s Café website Thursday, the restaurant’s managers described themselves as “shocked and appalled” on learning of the receipt.
“The unfortunate actions of this one employee do not mirror the mission of Huck Finn’s Cafe’s firm non-discrimination policy, and we are extremely apologetic for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the statement read.
The racial slur on Branch’s receipt appeared just four days after a group of customers at a restaurant in Ohio received a receipt from a bartender printed with the anti-gay epithet “f*gs.”