It wasn’t just a kerfuffle over creamers, says a First Nations man from Nanaimo, and that was what was concerning to him.
Brandon Gabriel’s dining experience at the north-end Ricky’s All-Day Grill location was all over Facebook this week after he alleged racial profiling at the restaurant.
Out for brunch on Tuesday morning with his three-year-old daughter and brother-in-law, the child drank all the creamers that had been set out on the table. Gabriel said when he asked for more creamers and a coffee refill, he was denied the creamers, told they were for coffee, not for children to drink. A couple at the adjacent table then asked for more creamers and their request was granted.
“I felt that there was a discriminatory-motivated excuse for [staff’s] actions,” said Gabriel, a member of the Kwantlen First Nation, who e-mailed a statement to the News Bulletin.
He asked to speak to a manager and he said the incident escalated into a “very confrontational situation” that made him emotional and upset. His Facebook post from that day, in which he alleged racial profiling in all-caps, has been shared nearly 2,000 times as of Saturday afternoon.
Ricky’s provided an e-mailed statement to the News Bulletin, saying “we take matters such as the incident reported … extremely seriously” and that it has been investigated.
“We would like to take this opportunity to state that while this incident was unfortunate, causing concern among guests at the restaurants and our loyal Ricky’s patrons across Canada, that no racial-oriented language or actions occurred by our staff. We apologize for any miscommunication or misinterpretation of the events,” the statement concludes.
Gabriel said he respectfully disagrees with the restaurant’s response.
“The debacle was hurtful for all involved, and nobody involved in the matter will come out of this feeling absolved by the event in a meaningful or conciliatory way by the looks of it at this juncture,” Gabriel said. “But I do wish that it ends on a much more respectful note.”
He told another media organization earlier this week that he wished for a public apology and a refund on his meal, but told the News Bulletin on Friday night that for reasons of privacy and a love for the Nanaimo community, he doesn’t want more negative attention on the matter.
“We wish to bring forth an end to this incident that occurred at Ricky’s Restaurant in north Nanaimo in a good way,” Gabriel said.