A Black Missouri man had his birthday ruined last weekend after a waitress refused to continue serving him and his guests. To top things off, the restaurant’s manager called the police to have the entire party escorted out.
According to KTVI-TV, chef and recording artist, Terrence Dickerson, called the Sky Tower Grill in Richmond Heights, Missouri ahead of time to make reservations for 30 friends and relatives to celebrate with him on Saturday.
Despite what was supposed to be a festive occasion, Dickerson says his group was kicked out before the party ended due to what they believe was racial discrimination.
“We wanted to have a good time and a birthday celebration, they treated us like we’re not supposed to be there,” Dickerson said. “It made us feel like a criminal. It made me feel like we were breaking the law, and we were not.”
The waitress assigned to them refused to serve the group, claiming she felt overwhelmed by the large party.
“She left and never came back,” he recalls. “The next message we get is the police want you to leave.”
A spokesperson for the restaurant declined to comment on the allegations, but police said at 8:20 p.m. that evening, they received a call reporting a possible disturbance at the restaurant. As a result, seven or eight officers were dispatched to the eatery to investigate.
“We quickly found out that it was not a disturbance, just a misunderstanding over how the group would be billed, if it would be one check or an individual check. When we arrived, the restaurant came to an agreement and was working with the group,” said Chief Doug Schaeffler, of Richmond Heights police.
The humiliated birthday boy said he signed a contract reserving a party space and provided the TV station with an email confirming that guests could pay for their food and drinks on separate checks and would each be charged 20 percent gratuity.
Attendees at the gathering believe restaurant management assumed they would not pay their bill because they’re Black, and take issue with how they were forced to line up in single file like criminals to pay their bills, one-by-one, before being escorted out.
“Very embarrassing,” said guest Hofton Nelson. “Police told everybody we had to go upstairs because it was a bad look on the place. I told him the fact that we have a Black party of 30 and we have a contract to be up here, it looks bad because you have eight police officers here, and no laws are being broken.”
The owners of Blue Sky Tower Grill issued a statement to KTVI-TV, saying in part, “We have been in communication with the customer and have agreed to return the $100.00 facility fee. We have also apologized to the customer for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction. Likewise, we apologize to all of the guests who were inconvenienced last Saturday evening. Our family has been in the restaurant business since 1932. We always try our best to meet our customer’s expectations, apparently we did not do so in this case. We are sorry this incident happened.”