A black motivational speaker says he and his wife were thrown out of a Texas restaurant because they refused to give up their table for a white customer.
Johnny Wimbrey and his wife had been ready to order dinner at Sambuca360 in Plano on Saturday night when the manager asked if they would give up their table, WFAA reports.
Wimbrey said the manager wanted the couple to give their table to a white man who is a regular customer – and became angry when they refused.
‘I said, ‘No, I think we want to sit here. We have a great view. It’s only a table for two.’ So we just declined the offer respectfully,’ he told WFAA.
A heated exchanged between Wimbrey and the manager was captured on a cell phone by the couple.
‘You can pay the tab – you are leaving,’ the manager told the couple outside the restaurant.
‘Why am I leaving?’ Wimbrey asked him.
‘Because I am asking you to leave,’ he replied.
‘Why?’ Wimbrey responded.
‘Because I don’t like you,’ the manager said.
When Wimbrey repeatedly asked the manager what he did wrong, the manager accuses him of trespassing.
‘What you’re doing wrong is you’re trespassing. Time to go,’ the manager told the Wimbreys.
After this, Wimbrey said the manager called Plano police and they decided to leave the scene.
Wimbrey, who has hosted work parties at the restaurant with more than 200 attendees, said race was definitely a factor in the incident.
‘I do believe it’s because of who I am and how I look that they asked me to move tables,’ he said.
Sambuca360 apologized for the incident, blaming it on a ‘mix-up’ at the host stand.
‘Sambuca has no tolerance for discrimination and always wants to make every guest feel welcome and respected,’ it said in a statement to WFAA.
After Wimbrey’s story appeared on a local news network, the story sparked a furious backlash as it spread across social media.
It comes after two black men who were arrested while waiting at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia reached a confidential financial settlement with the coffee chain.
They also dropped legal claims against the city after it agreed to pay each man $1 and committed $200,000 to fund an entrepreneurship program for public school students.
Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were arrested on April 12, after a Starbucks manager called police to complain that they had not made a purchase and refused to leave. Police released the men hours later without charges.
However, a video of their arrests was widely shared online, sparking protests and calls for a boycott of the popular chain.
Starbucks Corp, which plans to close 8,000 stores for a half day of anti-bias training on May 29, said Robinson and Nelson will have an opportunity to provide input for the company’s ‘long-term diversity and equity efforts.