An employee of an Arby’s restaurant in Lafayette, Indiana, was fired earlier this week after writing a homophobic slur on the receipt from a gay couple, an Arby’s spokesperson confirmed.
Craig Gray and John Burns were dining out on Sunday afternoon when they received their order receipt with the typed insult, which came as a “shock,” Burns told NBC News in a telephone interview.
Burns said there was a long line by the way when they got to the restaurant, so they went inside.
“We went to the counter and ordered,” he said. “The cashier who helped us, the young man we talked about, looked really new and a little awkward, but very kind. So, a very common fast food event. Nothing that you would expect that out of the ordinary.
But as the couple waited for their order to be prepared, Burn’s partner noticed that on their receipt there was a homophobic slur in place of his name.
“Shock, just an absolute shock,” Burns said. “This has never happened to me in all my years. I come from this region and have lived there all my life.
As Burns confronted the cashier, Gray posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook, with a caption that read, “So that just happened at Arby’s!” Happy pride, eh? “
Burns said the cashier attributed the incident to a “computer problem”.
“I showed him the receipt,” Burns said. “I said, ‘Look at this. What is that? Why would you want to do this? ‘ And that’s when he tried to give me a lame excuse about a computer problem, where he said, “Sometimes I put a name in and it will come out differently on the receipt.”
Burns said he asked to see the manager, who refunded the couple’s order and fired the cashier on the spot.
“The moment I sat in my seat to meet Craig and our food, I saw him walking down the street in the parking lot,” Burns said of the fired cashier.
A spokesperson for Arby told NBC News that “the franchise employee was fired minutes after management learned of the incident” and the company “has zero tolerance for discriminatory speech by whatever nature “.
However, Burns has since found the company’s response lackluster. In the days following the incident, he said company officials left voicemails or texted the couple, but when he tried to contact them again, he got no response.
“I think they must have a phone call or a phone conversation with me to acknowledge what happened and apologize that way, not just a recorded message,” he said.
When asked about this, a company spokesperson said, “I can confirm that the franchisee and we at Arby’s Corporate both contacted the guests to no avail.”
Burns said that at the very least, he hoped it could be a teaching moment for the company.
“It would be nice to hear something from the franchise owner on maybe what he would like to do to try to prevent this problem from happening again,” he said.
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