Tony B. lives in Irving but spends a lot of his time in Grand Prairie. On Monday, Tony went to Panda Express on 161 in Grand Prairie. When he went to place his order through the drive-thru he was shocked when he heard the employee of Panda Express using a fake Chinese or Asian accent to take his order. He took to social media to share his story about how it made him feel as an Asian American with roots from Laos. He goes on to say:
” I usually don’t post but I thought I’d shed light on an incident that occurred yesterday evening at the drive-thru of Panda Express, where an employee thought it was funny to take my order in a Chinese accent. If anyone knows me, y’all know I don’t tolerate ignorance. As I pulled up to the window, I noticed 3 other employees wearing headsets overheard the order being taken. Each one of them thought it was hilarious. I immediately asked to speak with the manager on duty and she refused to identify the guy who took my order and said he was suddenly in the restroom. She then realized the severity of the incident and how offensive and insensitive the situation was. After holding up the drive-thru for 15min, the employee was identified by the name of CARLOS, was not Chinese or of Asian descent. What infuriated me, even more, is that he continued to keep up this facade by squinting his eyes and apologizing to me in a Chinese accent!!! Once I called him out on his childish behavior, his eyes started to change and accent disappeared. The assistant manager attempted to diffuse the situation but continued to defend his actions by saying “he does this all the time”. She lacked the skill on how to handle the difficult conversation! To sum it all up, she offered to comp my meal to make the “situation right” but I refused because it doesn’t solve the real issue at hand. Race and racism is something I’ve dealt with my whole life growing as a minority and do not tolerate ever. This type of behavior is unacceptable especially when you operate a restaurant to serve PEOPLE!! Panda needs to retrain their employees on having more empathy and compassion so this doesn’t happen again.” – Tony B.
Grand Prairie News reached out to Panda Express corporate office to share Tony’s story and here is their response.
“We take this situation very seriously and have taken immediate action, including reaching out to the guest involved to apologize for what occurred and for our review of this incident to determine what further action is needed. It is of the utmost importance to us that each of our guests are treated with respect and dignity, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. As a family-owned Asian American company, creating an environment of inclusivity as well as diversity and cultural awareness is deeply rooted in our values, with a requirement for all store managers to complete diversity and inclusion training and role model this with their associates. Furthermore, we’ve placed the associate involved on leave and, at this time, are retraining our staff while our teams work to ensure appropriate action is taken.” – Panda Express
It raises the question – Have we made enough progress when it comes to racism against Asian Americans in the United States?
The hurtful and damaging political rhetoric around COVID19 referred to as the Chinese flu, or this idea that the coronavirus was quote-unquote ‘made in a Chinese lab,’ have revived much larger racist and anti-Asian American narratives in the United States. We must do a better job of learning and understanding that racism is not, and never will be OK.