Note: we are republishing this story amid increasing reported levels of bad behavior from customers amid the coronavirus pandemic. More on that here: https://www.today.com/food/food-workers-discuss-pandemic-confrontations-angry-customers-t224537
A Tennessee waitress is receiving a lot of support after she claims a customer rejected her because of the way she looks.
Ashley Chiarizzio, 24, was working at the Red Robin restaurant in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, just like any other night. But on this particular Saturday night, her manager told her something shocking.
Chiarizzio has blue hair, tattoos and piercings. According to WSPA, that night a customer asked her manager for another server because she did not like the way the waitress looked.
"He told me, 'She doesn't like the way you look,'" Chiarizzio said. "He said, 'She doesn't like the way you represent -- the tattoos, the piercings, hair -- she wants a new server.'"
Chiarizzio was shocked by what her manager told her. She said, "I've never had someone look at me and decide I wasn't good enough to serve them."
A spokesperson for Red Robin says it is aware of the incident and that there is nothing in the company's dress policy that prevents an employee from having colored hair or tattoos.
The server was brought to tears that night and decided to share the story on Facebook:
To the lady who refused to let me serve her tonight because you didn't agree with "what I represented" and "how I presented myself", I just wanted to let you know, while I cried on my drive home, I prayed for you. I pray God over looks your judgement of me, I pray you learn acceptance and tolerance to things you didn't grow up with, and I pray that you learn someone's appearance does not affect their ability to work (especially to serve burgers and fries). You did however, light a fire under my butt so now I'm sitting at home with an even brighter blue in my hair, and planning out my next tattoo! All with you in mind. :) I hope you had a great dinner, and enjoyed your night out with your husband.
Also.. Might want to avoid restaurants that openly allow their employees to have tattoos, piercings, and "weird" hair. I hear Olive Garden is nice!
The post quickly went viral and Chiarizzio received a number of likes, shares, and supportive comments.
"People were saying, 'You're awesome,'" she said. "It's 100 percent overwhelming happiness and positivity from the community."
The following Friday night, Chiarizzio's co-workers all sprayed their hair blue in support of their friend. Some even wore temporary tattoos.
"It's basically to say, 'If you didn't like it, you can't sit with any of us because now we all have blue hair and tattoos,'" she said.
Chiarizzio says she hopes by sharing her story that someone may think differently about people who don't look like them.
Red Robin's spokesperson says that the company has a non-discriminatory policy which says that if a customer asks for a new server for a discriminatory reason, the manager will not accommodate that customer.