An Indiana Subway restaurant came under fire after a woman called out the manager in a viral video for discriminating against two African-American teens, prompting a weak excuse from the owner.
Alpeshkumar Patel, owner of the South Bend franchise, claimed on Friday that his employee was “confused” about the water cup policy, WNDU-TV reported.
However, Dominique Bonilla, observed the harsh treatment the boys, about 15 years old, received on Tuesday after they politely waited on line and asked for cups of water on a hot day that others received for free and without hassles.
“They were told, very hard, ‘no,’ and leave,” Bonilla recalled, bringing the boys back into the store while she spoke with the manager. “Even after offering to pay for the cup of water — or the cups of water — I was then told ‘no.'”
When asked by Bonilla, the manager admitted the boys had never caused trouble in the store before, adding “‘You never know with these people,'” Bonilla remembered the manager saying.
“Because we’re next to a high school, we regularly provide water cups to students who come in,” the statement from the owner said. “We had considered requiring a purchase, but have decided to continue giving water cups to those who ask. I will make sure that all my employees are aware of this policy.”
A Subway spokesman distanced the company from the situation, underscoring in a statement that restaurants are independently owned and set their own complimentary cup policies.
“Respect for every individual is a core Subway value, and we encourage Franchisees to set policies that provide the best customer service to all guests,” the statement continued.
Bonilla gave a big thumbs-up to the boys for how they handled the situation.
“I commend them and their parents for teaching them to be respectful and just to handle everything with respect and dignity,” she said.