[Update 3]: Update on the story: http://themuslimvoice.net/2013/10/05/discriminated-muslim-woman-demands-on-camera-apology-from-tgi-fridays/
[Update 2]: Following news and video was posted on WFAA: http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas/muslim-woman-meal-226241281.html
Note: (part of some comments on site were also shown in the video):
Video reuploaded into our YouTube page for easier sharing:
GARLAND — Nicole Queen never wanted the attention; only to make a simple statement on how she felt she was being treated.
A converted Muslim, she said it was supposed to be a casual lunch with a friend at TGI Friday’s at the Firewheel Town Center in Garland. She said her lunch date started with a very cold reception from the server.
“It was kind of like being taken care of behind bars,” Queen said.
She said the server was put off by a request to remove bacon from her Cobb salad because it is forbidden for Muslims to eat pork.
“Me and my friends were like, ‘Let’s be extra nice to him, because maybe he’s not comfortable with us because we’re Muslim,’” Queen recalled.
But she said that helped little in easing the tension between them and the server.
By the end of the meal, she said their original waiter had stopped serving them and they were being handled by another employee.
When it came time to pay the bill, their new server asked if Queen wanted a refill on her iced tea to-go. She thought that was really odd, because she’s never been given a refill to-go for free, but thought it was the server offering a kind gesture.
Queen said when she took a sip from her iced tea in the parking lot, she noticed something was off from the very start.
She said there were pieces of bacon in her straw.
“I knew right away that that it was bacon, and I knew right away that it had been placed in my straw because that was the first thing that went into my mouth,” Queen said.
She said she remembered what bacon tasted like from before she converted. She took the cup to the restaurant manager, but didn’t feel like the manager was taking her complaint seriously.
“He said, ‘Our wait staff does not have access to the kitchen and they wouldn’t do that on purpose.’ Everything that came out of his mouth was denial and excuses,” she said.
A spokesman for TGI Friday’s provided this statement to News 8 on Wednesday night:
“We take this matter very seriously, as it would represent a gross violation of our values and the promise we make to each of our guests. We have been in contact with the guest, and we are working with her to investigate. We will take any appropriate actions necessary based on the findings.”
Queen converted from Christianity to Islam six years ago. She still holds on to the first Quran that her now-husband handed to her.
“They made me feel like a minority, and I’ve never known what that feels like,” Queen said.
She added that she has no intention of filing a lawsuit against the restaurant, but hopes her experience can be a teaching moment for people in that establishment.
She hopes Friday’s offers sensitivity training to their employees.
Late Wednesday night, Queen told News 8 that an executive had called her apologizing for the way she was treated, and was assured they would fully investigate what happened that Tuesday afternoon.
Following message was also posted by the official TGI Fridays Facebook page:
Salaam and Peace to all.
My name is Saad, I am the creator of this site. The statistics for the views and amount of comments (within a short amount of time) is a record breaker for this site. I am grateful to see so much support from people regarding this horrible act of discrimination.
As an American Muslim, I believe we do not have room for religious, racial intolerance, or any other stereotypical discrimination. This is what our religion teaches and this is what values hold our country.
I have deleted some of the discriminatory and intolerable comments made by a couple of the users and contacted them separately. I would ask everyone to please refrain from any negative or discriminatory comments, and if there is any misconceptions regarding Islam, you may email us separably at: TheMuslimVoice.com@Gmail.com and we can have a good conversation about it :). Thank you.
MV: Message posted by Sr. Nicole Queen (influential Muslim revert and inspirational speaker), on a recent discrimination encounter that she experienced at TGI Fridays (here in Garland, TX):
Had lunch at TGI Fridays at Firewheel Center with a friend today…wouldn’t normally go there but was looking for a good salad. We sent my friends salad back because it had bacon, didn’t make a big deal and the server fixed it. He was tense as he serve us and didn’t dare smile or show a personality. I told my friend, this guy does not want us at his table…she agreed. So then at the end of our lunch a diff waitress finished our check. She asked if I would like a Togo cup of ice tea. I said sure and she presented me with a foam cup and straw already in it with the top part of the wrapper still in tact. I got in the car and took off the top wrap and took a sip, instead of tea I got a mouth of BACON!!! I took both my kids out of the car, loaded them in the double stroller and marched back in the building with my cup and the bacon on top of the lid. I asked for the manager and told him what happened and his reply was just deny deny deny. Oh I don’t think anyone did that on purpose…blah blah. Really? So someone accidentally stuck bacon into the straw and stuck in my cup and placed the wrapper back on top, for the girl in the scarf? Yeah total accident that it happens to be bacon. He continues to deny and I give him the cup with bacon and said here’s your tea back, and your bacon and let your employees know their trick didn’t work. I can’t think of a time I was more offended and I will never eat at any of your restaurants again. He let’s me leave angry and only offers a new drink. Well, the head of DFW CAIR happened to have dinner at my house tonight and made a call to TGI Fridays and let them know that this is not acceptable treatment and was very offensive and recommended they discuss this treatment with employees. A member of their waitstaff placed bacon in the straw of my drink to make a statement to me. Whether your Muslim, Christian, or Jewish don’t ever just accept something like this and say nothing. They put bacon in the wrong girls straw.
MV: As of when this post was written, several messages of oposition have been posted on the TGI Fridays official Facebook page. Can be seen here.