Overland Park, Kansas — President Obama made a surprise visit to a Kansas restaurant where he spoke with a waiter who made national headlines last week for receiving an anti-gay message and no gratuity from a couple that he had waited on.
It all began last week when a man and a woman dined at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas. When the couple left the 20-year-old server returned to his table to find a derogatory message scrawled on the back of the receipt.
The note read:
Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to god. Q**ers do not share in the wealth of god, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your f** choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for god’s love, but none shall be spared for f**s. May god have mercy on you.
Obama sat at a table in the waiter’s section along with two Muslim children he had brought from a Muslim Outreach Program started by the Obama family. The three each enjoyed hamburgers, fries and sodas. The president took time for photos and to promote Obamacare. Obama asked the waiter if he had signed up at healthcare.gov yet to which the waiter responded, “It didn’t work.” The president chuckled, “There has been a few hiccups with the Obamacare website but we are working on it night and day. It is extremely important that each and every young person in this country, gay or straight, receives affordable healthcare.”
Speaking further about the waiter, Obama told reporters, “This is what my son would look like, if he was African American and gay.”
Obama and the children finished their meal, shook hands with the waiter and then left a generous tip.
Since the event occurred last week, the local community has rallied its support behind the waiter. Friends have taken to social media to spread the word about what happened, and have vowed to go to the restaurant as a sign of support.
“It’s honestly despicable. I mean, it’s in my mind, no different than saying ‘sorry I’m not tipping you because you’re black or you’re a Jew’ or something like that,” a local resident told KMBC 9 News.
The waiter responded last week to the incident, saying: “The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I’d prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else.”
Responding to the report, the restaurant’s franchise company, Bloomin Brands, spoke out against such derogatory behavior.
“We do not tolerate discrimination — from either our employees or our guests. We embrace diversity and believe in treating everyone with respect,” it stated in an email.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas is located at 106th Street and Metcalf Avenue. Carrabba’s said the company embraces diversity, and will not tolerate discrimination from employees or guests. The manager said they were not aware of Obama’s visit until he arrived at the restaurant.