A much-loved server at an Ashburn, Virginia, restaurant is back at work with a message of defiance after being handed a stunningly racist message on a receipt by two customers over the weekend.
“I keep my head up. I have to keep moving. One hateful remark can not stop me,” Anita’s New Mexico Style Cafe waitress Kelly Carter told WTOP, after a white couple scrawled “great service don’t tip black people” on their receipt on Saturday morning.
At first, Carter couldn’t believe her eyes, telling the station that she “looked at the receipt three times.”
The message, which was confirmed by the local chapter of the NAACP, has prompted an outpouring of support from Carter’s loyal customers, who have reportedly begun stopping by the restaurant, asking for her by name, offering hugs, and even money.
“People were just coming in, dropping cash off,” Anita’s owner, Tommy Tellez, Jr. told WJLA.
“She has a following,” Tellez explained. “Her philosophy for customer service is way beyond the norm. And we’re really happy to have her.”
Speaking with NBC Washington, Tellez described the message as “disheartening,” saying she “thought it’s kind of in line with the political landscape, unfortunately.”
According to WJLA, Carter thought she’d recognized one of the customers responsible for the message, but had no reason to believe that she’d be on the receiving end of such a bigoted message. “The lady was saying they loved the potpie meal,” she told the station.
The racist receipt was shared widely across Twitter by the Loudoun Country chapter of the NAACP. The group’s president, Phillip Thompson, told NBC Washington that “I think the pressure from [social media] will deal with the situation better than what we can do at the NAACP.”
Despite having been confronted with an example of blatant racism, Carter is committed to taking the high road, and said that should the customers return to Anita’s, she would be happy to wait their table.
“Just me serving them will let them know they did not get the best of me,” she told WJLA. “And I truly mean that.”