Valet parker fired for writing insensitive racial remark to customer

Published: Jan. 2, 2014 at 6:33 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2014 at 1:25 PM EST
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The couple was shocked to see the words "Jungle Fever" written on their valet ticket.
The couple was shocked to see the words "Jungle Fever" written on their valet ticket.

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - An interracial couple from Columbus claim they were discriminated against when they had their car valet parked at Spondivits restaurant in Atlanta.

The soldier and his wife say they've never received this kind of treatment in the over-twelve years they've been together.

It's a common practice among workers in the service industry. Waiters or valet parkers will write a note to themselves on a check or receipt to remember which car or table belongs to who. If they don't know the customer's name, sometimes those notes will make reference to the customer's appearance. But when a husband and wife from Columbus saw what was written on a valet ticket to describe them, they say it crossed a line.

"It was put on there in such a way that the comment faced us. It faced us. And it said 'jungle fever.' I'm appalled," said Candea Aarons.

"I was upset, but more disappointed. More disappointed that this is 2014 and we still have individuals out there who still have these beliefs," said Samuel Aarons.

We're reminded of the time last year when three California women were featured in an ABC News report because a waiter carelessly printed a bill describing them as "fat girls."

But the Aarons said this was no simple mistake. They believe he wanted them to see what he had written.

"The boldness. To put something like this on a card, attach it to your customer's key chain in such a way that they are sure it is not going to fall off, and that they are actually going to get this piece of paper and read it. Who does that, January 1, 2014, who does that?"

Mr. Aarons said other than seeing the valet's note when he returned home, there was nothing about his encounter with the man that struck him as unusual or unfriendly.

"He walked up to the car, opened the car for my wife, same for me, and the same thing when we departed. He opened the door for my wife. I was really pleased with the service. I gave him a good tip, and then we left," said Samuel Aarons.

Our news partners in Atlanta have confirmed the valet, described as an African-American man, has been fired. We don't have his side of the story because he has not been identified.

Both Spondivits Restaurant and APS Valet have made statements denouncing the valet's actions.

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