Truckers Damon Whitfield and Hector Madera said they were visiting a Denny’s in Sioux Falls on August 13 when they were discriminated against by staffers who refused to serve them and asked them to leave.
In newly-released 911 audio, Mike Fletcher, Denny’s regional manager, told dispatchers that the men were acting “unruly” and refused to leave the restaurant. Fletcher said he was on his way to the restaurant when his team told him about the truckers.
“The team called me, and they said that they are very confrontational and argumentative and refuse to leave the building,” Fletcher told the dispatcher, referring to Whitfield and Madera. “Harassing the team [and] following them around the restaurant.”
Fletcher’s account seemingly contradicts video posted on social media that shows the truckers calmly sitting at a table when a waiter approached them.
“We have a lot of people here. It would be nice if you guys can leave,” the waitress said.
“What did we do?” one of the men asked.
“I have no idea. I’m not in the situation, but she said, like, to make it more calm,” the server responded, referring to another waitress. “She said, like, you guys can kindly leave because you do have a lot of people around, or the police will be on the way … ’cause they are.”
Officers were called to the scene and ultimately ended up apologizing to the pair for the incident.
Denny’s CEO Roland Spongberg confirmed that the waiter who called the police was fired.
“We’re talking about two hard-working men trying to get something to eat before they went back to work just like anyone else,” the truckers’ attorney said. “Instead, this waitress discriminated against them, humiliated them, and put them in an incredibly dangerous position just because they were Black. No one deserves that.”