In Young Lee, a Ph.D. student at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, stopped by a local Taco Bell after what he called a “fun night out” with friends. Upon ordering his food, he says he was handed a receipt printed with a racial slur pertaining to his Asian background. “I was so infuriated that I couldn’t help but to confront the cashier,” he wrote in a lengthy Facebook post detailing the event, which included a photograph of the receipt.
He said that the cashier who issued him the receipt tried to explain away the blatant act of racism by telling Lee that the rude word was used to differentiate him from the three other people with the same name picking up orders (Lee had used the name “Steve” to expedite his ordering process and avoid the cashier getting caught up on the spelling of his name).
“It made me even more upset that he was protecting his case rather than apologizing so I lashed out and told him that it is extremely disrespectful to use such a derogatory slur,” Lee wrote.
The Ph.D. student wrote that he later overheard the Taco Bell employee using the slur again to his coworkers in the fast food joint’s kitchen to describe the situation and laughing. Although he tried to confront the cashier again, this time a manager stopped him.
“He said that what the cashier did to me was wrong and that he is sorry. However, he rebutted that I was being disrespectful by snatching my food from the cashier. It was as if he was trying to defuse the situation by redirecting the blame on to me,” Lee described. He said that people in the Taco Bell came to his defense and berated both the manager and the cashier. The manager soon apologized.
Taco Bell told The Daily Meal that the cashier who used the slur has been fired. “We do not tolerate this behavior,” they stated. “This employee no longer works for the brand, and the franchise is retraining its staff to ensure this incident will not happen again. Management has reached out and apologized directly to the customer.”
Lee’s post emphasized the importance of addressing racially motivated incidents like this in 2018. “Normally I would let things like this go,” he wrote. “But under the current political climate I find it very important to address such issues and voice them loudly and clearly.”
The Daily Meal reached out to In Young Lee who declined to comment further.