An employee at a Virginia Little Caesars franchise was terminated this week after handing two customers a receipt printed with a seemingly homophobic insult, a company spokeswoman has confirmed.
Two Virginia men say they are “baffled” about the incident. Rosman Harris and his cousin, Marcus Robertson, told local CBS affiliate WTVR-TV they placed a takeout order at the Little Caesars in Henrico, Virginia, on Feb. 15. The two men said they were never asked for a name to put on the order, though customers both behind and ahead of them in line were.
When Harris and Robertson returned to pick up the pizzas about 15 minutes later, the receipt read “gay” in the place where customers’ names are usually printed. Although both men identify as gay, they said they did not disclose their sexuality when ordering their meals.
“It was this preconceived notion of, ‘Oh, these are gay men.’ So why would you write that on the ticket? I’m not understanding that,” Harris told the news station.
Robertson echoed those sentiments, saying in a Monday Facebook post that he’d been “hurt, irritated and pissed” upon seeing the receipt.
At that point, the men said they summoned a manager, but failed to get an answer. Two days later, they said another cousin visited the restaurant when the same cashier would had printed the receipt was working.
“She said, ‘Well, oh, he was being loud, he was being rude.’ So, my cousin was, like, ‘No, he wasn’t being loud or rude. He’s hearing impaired, so when he talked loud that’s for him to hear himself speak,’” Robertson recalled.
Though Robertson said his cousin had been told the employee couldn’t be fired because the restaurant was short-staffed, a Little Caesars spokeswoman confirmed to HuffPost Wednesday in an email that the staff member had indeed been let go in the wake of the incident.
Calling the incident a “highly unusual, isolated situation,” the spokeswoman said, “Little Caesars maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any violations of professional conduct.”
“The franchise owner took immediate action to investigate this matter,” she added, “and has terminated the employment of the individual involved in the incident.”