CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two Charlotte Smoothie King businesses are being investigated by their corporate office after two photos of receipts posted online within hours of one another Sunday appear to show racial slurs listed as customers' names
The Smoothie King CEO took action late Sunday, shuttering both locations until the entire staff can undergo sensitivity training and firing both of the employees involved.
The first order appears to have been placed Sunday afternoon at the business along Mount Holly-Huntersville Road in northwest Charlotte.
Calvin Caldwell, who got a receipt listing his name as the n-word told Channel 9 he couldn’t believe it when he saw it. He initially didn’t do or say anything because he didn’t want to cause a scene.
"I thought it was very disrespectful. I thought it was very rude,” he said. “Especially since I'm a paying customer, and I'm a loyal customer because I come to Smoothie King often. I thought it was in bad taste and completely inappropriate to use that kind of language."
State Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, whose district the store is in, talked to Caldwell.
He tweeted: “I am burdened by the path and the process Smoothie King and their staff have chosen to take… and at the end of the day, we all want to be treated with respect and dignity.”
The senator said he plans on meeting with the store manager Tuesday.
The second instance involved the store on Davis Lake Parkway. Charlotte resident Tony Choi took to Facebook to post a photo of that receipt, where he said an employee decided to list his name as "Jackie Chan."
Choi, who is Korean, wrote in part: "the 3 employees working there at the time couldn't stop laughing about it. I experience racism here and there and usually doesn't bother me. Today I left this store furious on the inside, trying to not let my young kids know what just happened."
Choi confirmed the incident directly to Channel 9, adding that he decided to post a photo of the receipt and his feelings about what had happened because it was unneccesary and hurtful.
"He could have easily just typed a single character. We were the only people in the store at the time. Instead he actually took the time to type what he did," Choi told Channel 9.
The two employees involved have been fired and the two locations are closed for sensitivity training.
Choi said he appreciates the company's response and got a call from both the chief pperating officer of Smoothie King and the franchise owner.
Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim put out a statement late Sunday night, which reads:
"Today, two instances happened in our Charlotte franchise stores that are totally unacceptable and go against every value that we stand for. Two of our team members wrote inappropriate, racial remarks about our guests. We have zero tolerance for any action where a guest is disrespected, and we have taken immediate and decisive action. As of tonight, both team members involved have been terminated. Both stores will be closed until the franchisees and their respective teams complete further training on our standards and to ensure that nothing like this occurs again. Additionally, we are continuing our investigation to insure that any individuals involved in these situations have been terminated. This behavior does not in any way reflect our company’s commitment to creating an open and welcoming environment, and for that we sincerely apologize. Our senior management team is taking additional steps to reinforce and retrain all of our franchisee and store-level employees of our inclusivity policies and best practices."
Cox Media Group