A manager of a Country Club Plaza restaurant was fired one day after a black woman posted a video on social media showing the discriminatory treatment she said she faced.
“I honestly feel like I was discriminated against and racially profiled,” said Xzaviera Vaqua, 37, of Kansas City.
The encounter happened July 19 at Tomfooleries, and on July 21, Vaqua posted her video on Facebook. It has since garnered more than 88,000 views and drew about 10 people to a protest Thursday night outside the restaurant at 612 W 47th St.
The restaurant’s manager, who identifies himself as “Preston” in the clip, was fired on Sunday, July 22, according to co-owner Shelly Bloom. She would not specify why he was fired or answer any other questions when reached by phone.
Vaqua’s video shows a conversation she had with the manager that lasted about 45 seconds.
She expresses concern when the manager tells her she must “secure a tab” before eating.
“I can’t just pay for my food?” she asks.
“You can pay for it after you eat. We don’t have to use the credit card but we have to secure the tab,” the manager says.
“I’ll pay for my food, cash, up front,” Vaqua says. “I don’t feel comfortable with nobody walking around with my card all night. I don’t ....”
“All night?” the manager asks. “You gonna be here all night?”
Vaqua says she might be and asks when the establishment closes. The managers says 1 a.m. Vaqua asks for clarification on when the place closes.
“I give last call at 2:30 a.m. at the bar,” the manager says.
“OK, that’s what I asked. What time do you close. You kept saying .....”
“You know what,” the manager interjects, “we’re done. Go ahead and go.”
Later, Vaqua expresses shock. “I don’t even understand what just happened.”
The manager angrily tells her to “get out” and says, “I don’t need to explain s--- to you.”
On Thursday outside the restaurant, Catina K. Taylor said the protesters were calling for a boycott of Tomfooleries to send the message that “allies and black people ... will not tolerate this type of behavior from any business in this city.”
Rheana McRow, who was at the protest, had her own story to share about a dispute over payment at a restaurant. In the video McRow posted on Facebook earlier this month, a white man says “goodbye” to McRow, who is black, several times and threatens to call police on her.
Vaqua said Thursday that she was never hostile during her interaction with the manager.
She said she felt the manager was “refusing service to me just because I’m a black woman.”
Thursday’s protest was also interrupted by a brief scuffle after a white man who appeared drunk spoke disrespectfully to Muslim sisters, the sisters said.
Safia and Suhaylah Alhambra were outside Tomfooleries with two children when they stopped to learn more about the protest.
The man used a typical Muslim greeting “sarcastically,” the sisters said. A man stepped in on the sisters’ behalf and the ensuing altercation spilled into the intersection at 47th and Jefferson streets.
One punch appeared to be thrown at the white man before police arrived.