An Austin couple who stopped to pick up a meal at an IHOP restaurant early Monday said they will never go to another IHOP after the message they saw on their receipt.
Arainia Brown and her boyfriend Rolman Sparkman were traveling back to Austin and decided to grab a to-go order from the IHOP at I-35 and Cesar Chavez around 3 a.m. Monday. When Brown saw her receipt, she immediately became upset.
"This is not a joke," said Sparkman. "It's very serious and it hurt a lot of people's feelings."
Brown and Sparkmen were shocked to see "BLACK PPL" typed at the top of their receipt. Two words that induced a range of emotions.
"I feel upset, I'm sad, I'm angry. Like this, it makes no sense," said Brown.
Adding insult to injury, Brown said the server was a young Black man.
"You could have asked me my name," said Brown. "Don't put, don't label me. I don't label you."
Brown said she didn't want to cause any commotion, especially before receiving her food, so rather than say something to the server or manager about the receipt, she put something on Facebook. By Monday evening, a picture of her receipt has been shared more than 14,000 times.
IHOP Corporate released the following statement about the incident:
"This was a poor choice made by our franchisee’s team member, and is not in keeping with policies and procedures. We recognize that it could be offensive and apologize. Everyone is welcome in our restaurants and our franchisee is using this as a teachable moment for the entire team so that it will not reoccur."
"Franchisee" refers to ACG Texas Restaurants, a group that owns and operates 67 restaurants across Texas. KVUE News reached out to ACG Texas Restaurants and were told they did not have a comment.
Brown and Sparkman said they hope the server understands the gravity of typing those two words and the example it set to his co-workers.
"Why would you do that to your own peoples," said Sparkman, "when you already know what's been going on in the past?"
"At the end of the day, everybody is a human being. Everybody is trying to work and make a living. Everybody is the same," added Brown.