Whoopsie! For those of you following the story of the Red Lobster server, Toni Jenkins, who was left a receipt with no tip and a racial epithet, it turns out the name of the customer was printed on the receipt, in addition to his signature, and has spread around the Internet. That exposure of confidential information is why the server had to be suspended. The suspension didn’t last through the week; in fact the server is back to her regular schedule, not having missed a day of work. The customer, however, isn’t happy.
The restaurant claims they have their employee’s back. A spokesman told the publication Consumerist that:
We were in constant communication with her over the past several days and have extended her a high degree of respect and caring for what happened. No one should have to endure what our employee went through last weekend.
The customer — now known to be Devin Barnes — also had something to say, but he said it through his lawyer. Attorney Richard Dugger provided NBC News with an apology letter from Barnes that he said was handwritten by the young man. In it, Barnes said he wrote ‘none’ on the ‘tip’ line and signed the receipt, but did not write the racial slur in the ‘total’ category. In his opinion, someone else wrote the slur after he left. He also wrote:
I do not approve of the use of that type of talk, not now or ever!!!
Attorney Dugger added:
Whoever put that on that receipt was very wrong. Just as putting that receipt on the World Wide Internet was wrong. Two wrongs never make a right.
In her own defense, server Toni Jenkins told The New York Daily News that she didn’t intend to harm the guy. She posted the receipt to Facebook for her friends to see — but the danger in that action is exactly what resulted. Things go viral. Now both Jenkins and Barnes have received threats over the incident.
I can only imagine what he’s [Barnes'] going through because he’s on the other end. I don’t wish anything bad against him at all … I don’t want anymore drama in my life. I just want to go to work, get the money for a car and go to school … That’s all.
Unfortunately, lawyers are now involved — because one can only assume that Red Lobster felt obliged to call in their own, though they’ve yet to respond to the apology letter. While it would be some kind of happy ending for there to be no more drama, that’s probably not how it’s going to work out. Someone will need, or want, to sort out what really happened, now that two sides have been told. That sorting out could very well occur in a court of law, thanks to the pitfalls of Facebook.
If the rest of us aren’t taking notes yet, maybe it’s time to start.