Tensions fostered by last week’s stunning election are triggering ugly confrontations between Trump supporters and detractors. Restaurants haven’t been spared the run-ins, as local news headlines attest.
Here’s proof that some patrons are still struggling to understand what Donald Trump’s victory means. Unity, sadly, is proving elusive.
‘You say you’re a vet…’
An ugly scene erupted in a Dallas-area Chili’s when an elderly man in a Trump hat confronted a fellow customer indulging in the chain’s offer on Veteran’s Day of a free meal for anyone who could prove they’d served. The veteran was black and of an age that prompted the Trump supporter to insist the place was the victim of a con. He loudly insisted that African-Americans didn’t fight in World War II, so the guy had to be freeloading.
Unfortunately for Chili’s, a manager bowed to the assertions and took the meal away from the vet—even though the man, Ernest Walker, had proof of his military service. He also was actually only 47 years old, which put him at an age when he could have fought in the first Iraqi war, and had documentation that the dog at his feet was a service animal, which the accuser also disputed.
The vet had the sense to pull out his phone and tape the interaction. Chili’s has apologized, but the story is still raging through the internet.
‘Wait a minute…’
The woman, who was not identified by the police or local news media, says she was stiffed on a tip from a customer who instead left homophobic and racial remarks on the tab. The ticket was also annotated with a scribbled “#PresidentTrump.”
But as the story raced through the social media, the customer accused of leaving the message came forward to say it wasn’t his handwriting. He acknowledged that he hadn’t left a tip, but was motivated by bad service, not by any attributes of the server.
The remarks read, “f you n,” which were construed as being racial. The customer pointed out that the notations wouldn’t have made sense even if he’d left them; he’s a person of color.
TGI Friday’s won praise for quickly issuing a statement saying it was addressing the situation. “Now is the time for everyone to come together,” it said.
‘Indoor voices, people’
A woman in Brooklyn, N.Y., discovered how readily fellow customers will eavesdrop on a lively conversation. She also learned how touchy people can be about comments that aren’t even addressed toward them.
The unidentified woman was reportedly talking with her friend about the election and her concerns about having Donald Trump as the chief executive. A couple at the next table overheard, voiced their displeasure, and asked that the two women trashing the president-elect be relocated to another table.
The women, who gave her age (49) but not her name, refused to drop the conversation, noting that she and her friend were merely discussing a current event.
The staff suggested that the complainer and his wife move, which they did.
The relocation didn’t defuse the parties’ anger. According to coverage in the Daily News, the offended Trump fan told the 49-year-old woman that he’d have thrashed her in the street if she’d been a man.
Still, the heat remained at a simmer until after the offended couple paid their bill and left. Just when it seemed the incident had passed, the man dashed back into the restaurant and punched the Trump critic.