Nobody has high expectations for the toys in Wendy’s kids’ meals, but a racist note in one customer’s food pushed them beyond mere disappointment.
Manige Osowski was shocked last week after her 7-year-old daughter sat down to enjoy her Wendy’s meal, and then turned to her to ask what a “n***a” was. The Denver mother was shocked to see racist language written in black marker on the playing cards that had come with the food, reported the local Denver Fox affiliate.
Osowski then returned to the Wendy’s location with her two daughters, aged 4 and 7, to confront the manager about the issue. There, she says the incident was received with less than the reaction she had been expecting. Manige says the manager told the staff to “quit playing your games” and then ripped up the card with the racist language that had been included in the kids’ meal.
After the employee went into the back to contact higher Wendy’s management, Osowski grew increasingly irritated when the staff refused to give her back the shredded playing card. Eventually, police came to the store to remove the mother for “suspicious activity.” Manige denies doing anything other than asserting that the Wendy’s employees return the racist card from the original kids’ meal.
After receiving the racist Wendy’s kids’ meal, Osowski says that her daughter has been introduced to discrimination against African-Americans in a way that she was previously oblivious to. She has found herself at a loss when trying to explain to her daughter why things like this happen, Manige told Yahoo Parenting.
“I am an adult so I understand what is going on in this country, but my 7- and 4-year-old should have no concept of that, and this store just exposed them, unprovoked, to what racism looks like… [when she asked me about the word] I said, ‘Remember we talked about slavery?’ She said yes, and I said, ‘This is one of the words they used back then to make black people feel bad.’ She said, ‘Why did they give it to me?’ and I told her I didn’t know. I said that sometimes there are mean people and we don’t know that they’re mean until they say something they shouldn’t.”
Wendy’s has now fired both of the employees suspected of putting the racist language into the meal. The company has also issued a statement reaffirming that they are committed to diversity and multiculturalism. Despite those efforts, Osowski blames Wendy’s for having to traverse these difficult conversations with her daughter. On Tuesday evening, she formed a small protest outside of the fast food restaurant demanding that they take responsibility for the incident.
“I don’t know what that looks like, but… I’m sure [Wendy’s] has a team of people who can figure out an age-appropriate way to make amends. Maybe that is meeting my daughters at a store and a nice person getting down on one knee and talking to them and explaining what happened — that two mean people did something very wrong. It’s really that simple, but it doesn’t have to be that. I am not the one who did something wrong, so I feel like there’s no reason I should be left holding the baggage and they can say, ‘There’s nothing more we can do.’ “
Following the incident at Wendy’s, Manige says that her daughter has walked away from the incident with her first taste of racism.
“She says it’s not fair that people can be mean to you just because you are brown. And she thinks it’s not fair that she didn’t get her toy.”
Do you think Wendy’s adequately handled the racist kids’ meal?
[Images via Manige Osowski and Rachel Murray / Getty Images]