Chelsea Mayes and four friends thought their dining experience at a Tennessee restaurant called Cheddar’s after church on Sunday went well, until they found that their waitress had posted racist messages about the group on social media.
“I am so hungover,” the server, who hasn’t been identified, wrote in a Snapchat post that went viral. “And I have a section full of n*****s right now.”
Mayes told the Daily News Journal that she was shocked when her friend sent her a screenshot of the waitress’ “hurtful” message, especially since she thought that their group had made a connection with the server.
“She was a great waitress,” Mayes, 22, told the Daily News Journal. “She did a good job, made jokes with us, laughed with us. We had a good time.” She noted on a Facebook post that her group even tipped her “generously.”
The offensive message made her “second-guess everything.”
“It kind of just confused me,” Mayes told The Washington Post. “If she felt this way the whole time, she could have easily done something to our food, done something to our drinks, and we never would have known.”
Mayes was angry, admitting she didn’t intend on responding to the waitress’ comment initially. But as the server’s comments continues to be shared, Mayes decided to address the racism by channeling that anger into love.
“This ‘n****r‘ is pretty nice,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “This ‘n****r‘ actually enjoyed your company. This ‘n****r‘ is praying for you. This ‘n****r‘ loves you and there isn’t anything you can do about it.”
As soon as Cheddar’s management learned about the server’s post, she was fired.
“We, ourselves, were shocked and offended after learning one of our servers had posted comments on social media that were hurtful and derogatory,” Lee Greer, owner of Cheddar’s in Murfreesboro, told DNJ. “This type of behavior will never be tolerated in our restaurants. The server was immediately suspended and ultimately terminated after our internal investigation.”
Mayes told DNJ that she was happy to see the waitress lose her job because repercussions are necessary, though she doesn’t wish her any ill will. Mayes even said she wants to invite the waitress to a Sunday school class she attends to “give her a different outlook.” But, she added to The Washington Post, that she doesn’t have intentions on returning to Cheddar’s anytime soon.
“No matter how much love and and joy you spread, there will always be someone with hate in their heart towards you, regardless if it’s in your face or when you leave,” she wrote in her Facebook post. “It’s up to you how you handle it.”