You're going to hear about this news story, so let's get it out in the open right away:
"Huntington Beach Restaurant Fires Waiter after He Asks Four Diners for 'Proof of Residency'" by Greg Mellen on ocregister.com
Here is my initial reaction to this, as owner of this website:
The act is heinous and inexcusable, asking four Latinas for "proof of residency" before giving them service. In fact, it goes beyond that: It's just so impossibly *stupid* that it makes me wonder about how some people can wake up in the morning and manage to tie their shoes.
Until I'm shown that this restaurant had some sort of institutional policy in place that was discriminatory, we must not blame the business for the act of one, rogue server, who was immediately fired (correctly, I will add).
Maybe there's something about the "corporate culture" here that encouraged this behavior, but I haven't read it yet, and until / unless I do, I refuse to blame Saint Marc for doing anything wrong. They were absolutely correct in taking swift, decisive action in firing this individual, who - as far as I know - was a lone wolf, acting on his own. It would be wrong to punish the company just because one person chose to put his racism on full display.
If anyone knows additional information that might implicate the company, please come out and say so, but until then, we *must* not assume that this company has done anything wrong. I feel terribly for the four Latina customers - this must have been so humiliating that they were infuriated - but I hope they realize that this was (until proven otherwise) the work of one, single individual.
I've only found out about this myself in the past twenty minutes or so, and I have no real knowledge of what went on, but I'm asking our members to please *not* implicate this restaurant in any way until there is reason to do so, and show proper restraint in your judgments. Saint-Marc did the right thing by immediately firing this server - what more could they have done?
Although I don't speak for our members as individuals, I do speak for the website with this post. And I'll be the first one to back off this position if someone produces some evidence that this type of thing was in Saint-Marc's corporate culture. Again, I stress that the Orange County Register's article is the only one I have read about this incident, so my knowledge about it is quite limited.
Perhaps the manager could have acted more decisively, but if I were in his place, I would have been so shocked that I might have fumbled around also, not knowing quite what to say or do. In my opinion, it's much more important for the restaurant to act *correctly* rather than *immediately*, and it might take a few days to get all the facts in place - there's nothing wrong with that: You can fire someone just as easily on a Friday as you can the preceding Tuesday, and the same goes with making things right with the diners - the one thing that needs to be done immediately is to assure them that you're taking this with the utmost of seriousness, and that you're going to follow through.
Cheers, peace, and all my respect and sympathies to everyone who was wronged in this outrageous situation,