With summer break just beginning, many students were likely looking for ways to earn extra money during their time off. But one Texas teen almost had her hopes dashed when a store manager decided against even considering her application because she was Black.
Katelyn Simmons, 17, was encouraged to apply to a Subway franchise by friends who are employees at the restaurant in the town of Spring, near Houston. The rising senior at Klein High School picked up and dropped off her application on the same day. Shortly after she submitted it, a friend sent her a screenshot of a text message conversation with the store manager about Simmons’ application.
“Girl brought in her application I’m leaving it on the table for you tomorrow,” Simmons’ friend texted to the manager.
The manager then texted back, “OK thanks. How she look?”
The friend then replied, “Black girl long dark hair” and then followed that with “shortish.”
The manager then responded, “Oh no thanks. I don’t want those people in our store lol.”
Simmons told Click2Houston on Monday that she was discouraged when she read the messages.
“I picked Subway because my friends work there and it’s a really cool spot,” Simmons said. “I thought it would be fun and chill, and it’s really discouraging for it to go down like that just because of the color of my skin.”
Simmons’ mother was also angered by the manager’s racist comments, as shown by her Facebook post about the incident that has been shared about 22,000 times.
“My daughter just dropped off a job application at the Subway at Champion Forest and Cypresswood,” Timika Marks Simmons wrote. “Help me spread this and get this manager fired! My daughter’s friend works there who encouraged her to apply. We are typically silent about this stuff but this was pretty blatant and to be sharing this type of hate with other kids who don’t feel the same way is taking it too far.”
Many social media users reacted with outrage and called for the manager to be fired. Subway took notice and terminated the unidentified store manager.
“The manager of this location was immediately terminated for her actions,” Subway said in a statement. “The Franchise Owner has reached out to the young woman who applied for the position to apologize and encourage her to consider re-applying. The former manager’s actions do not reflect the openness and values shown by Subway Franchise Owners and their staffs. The Subway brand and its independent Franchise Owners are inclusive and welcome all individuals to be part of the Subway restaurant teams.”
Simmons said she had no desire to reapply to the position and will instead be starting a job with Quench IV Studios in a few days.
“My biggest thing was I just wanted to be heard that this is not OK,” Simmons said. “I just want Subway to do something and say this is not how we do things.”