A sixteen-year-old female cashier has been fired from a Harlem Papa John's after identifying Minhee Cho, a twenty-four-year-old public-relations rep, as "lady chinky eyes" on her customer receipt Friday. A shocked Cho tweeted on Saturday, "Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn't 'lady chinky eyes,'" along with uploading an image of the receipt.
The store's assistant manager said, "I didn't think [the cashier] was trying to offend the lady in any type of way, but she did. It wasn't meant to harm her in any way. But I apologize on behalf of my staff for that." Papa John's also tweeted an apology to Cho, as well as issuing a public apology on Facebook Saturday, writing:
"We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issue in New York. This act goes against our company values, and we've confirmed with the franchisee that this matter was addressed immediately and that the employee is being terminated. We are truly sorry for this customer's experience."
Opinion has been divided about the incident, which follows a similar case at a California Chick-fil-A in December, with some people believing that the termination of the cashier from her minimum-wage job was too harsh, and speculating that the girl may just have been innocently, albeit ignorantly, trying to describe the customer without meaning it as a racial slur, which it obviously is. And indeed, Cho herself said, "I was very surprised because the lady that was serving me was super-nice and we joked and it seemed super-normal."
The store's owner, Ronald Johnson, found the incident "really disappointing and outrageous," saying the cashier was a "sixteen-year-old urban youth who listens to this nonsense all day on TV and radio." He continued:
"It's really really unfortunate, it's a bad bad thing. When I googled the phrase, all these songs came up. These kids bring their baggage into the store with them."