IRVINE — The Chick-fil-A fast-food chain has issued an apology for a racial incident involving one of its cashiers and two Asian American customers in Irvine.
In a Dec. 9 post on his Tumblr page, Kelvin Lee related what happened when his friend, a resident assistant at UC Irvine, and a student made a purchase at a local Chick-fil-A. He included a photo of their receipts, which said “Ching” and “Chong” under “Guest ID.”
“The cashier did NOT ask for their names, but when they got their receipts, this is what they said,” Lee wrote. “If you know anything about UCI, you probably know that we have a reputation as being an Asian-dominant school. Fifty-three percent, actually. And while the victims of this act are indeed Asian, it shouldn’t matter. The fact that ignorant language like this was used to describe people is UNACCEPTABLE.”
Lee quoted his friend as saying, “I went to talk to the manager, and I told him that this cannot happen ever again. I chose to be calm about it, but I was ready to go off. I made it known that it wasn’t okay, and that I didn’t appreciate it whatsoever.”
The cashier, identified on the receipts as Lia, was fired.
“I thought people had learned after what happened to the girl from UCLA, but apparently not,” Lee added, referring to Alexandra Wallace, who posted an anti-Asian rant on YouTube earlier this year and subsequently left the university amid a barrage of criticism.
The report about Chick-fil-A went viral after being posted on Angry Asian Man and other blogs.
In a statement that was posted on Grub Street LA, Chick-fil-A said: “Please understand and accept our confirmation that the inappropriate and unthinking behavior of a young team member at one of our restaurants does not support any claim or even suggestion of racism at our restaurant. The individual clearly violated our operating standards; the matter was addressed and discussed immediately with the guests on the spot; and a confirmation was provided that the employee was dismissed for the individual behavior.
“Our Chick-fil-A restaurant operators and their employees try very hard every day to actually go the extra mile in serving ALL of our customers with honor, dignity and respect. The circumstances here are a simply case of immaturity, failed judgment, and human error… It has nothing to do with the service and operational standards of our Chick-fil-A restaurants, which are consistently rated at the highest level of service in the food service industry.”
Lee said in his blog that he did not blame the management: “I realize Chik-fil-A hasn’t exactly had the best track record when it comes to issues of social justice, but I don’t think the horrible mistake on the part of one individual is reason enough to launch a witch hunt. There’s no way the person who hired this woman would have been able to know she’d do something so stupid.”
Chick-fil-A has been criticized in the past for donating to groups with anti-gay agendas.