The owner of a restaurant in Florida
has offered to apologize to a gay customer he called “disgusting.”
According to NBC
affiliate WBBH, the incident occurred Sunday, May 3 at the
Country Roads Cafe in Lehigh Acres. The restaurant is owned by Bill
and Diane Harrell.
At least four people were sitting at a
table when Bill Harrell walked up to them and began making jokes
about a transgender customer.
“We just had the worst experience at
Country Roads Cafe,” Melissa Bellows wrote on Facebook. “The
owner approached our table and began making fun of a transgender at
another table. He said, 'You know that's a boy dressed as a girl,'
to which I replied, 'So.' He continued talking and said that, 'he
has no time for gay people' while I'm sitting at the table with my
gay daughter. My daughter mentioned that she was gay and he
proceeded to tell her that she is disgusting. At this point, I lost
my cool and began speaking loudly about the treatment we were
receiving. I walked out yelling. I will never step foot in that
Bellows' daughter wrote about her
experience on Yelp.
“Today I was at Country Roads Cafe in
Lehigh enjoying lunch with my girlfriend and the OWNER of the place
came up to me and told me he is a Christian and I am disgusting,”
Taylor K. wrote. “I never have personally experienced
discrimination for being gay before but today was really eye opening.
The sad thing is I'm not even hurt by it. I'm just shocked at how
ignorant people are today. How can you be an owner of a place and
just treat your customers like that.”
The Harrells apologized for the
incident on social media.
“My eyes were opened, and I learned a
lot from the experience,” Bill Harrell wrote. “Come back in, and
I will apologize in person.”
Diane Harrell told WBBH that her
husband should be excused because of his age.
“I’m not saying that what he did or
said was right, but you just gotta understand that the world is
different than was back when he grew up as a child. Things were
totally different back then," she said.
The Harrells recently sold their
restaurant to new owners.