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article imageAsian Papa John's customer orders pizza, gets side of racism

By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 7, 2012 in Food
New York - Minhee Cho was shocked when she saw on her Papa John's pizza receipt that the employee had described her as "lady chinky eyes." She was super offended because she says the woman who served her was so nice.
Minhee Cho, 24, ordered a small pepperoni pie at her local Papa John's Pizza place and didn't look at the receipt she was given until she got home. What she saw gave her a bad taste in her mouth. On the receipt, under her order number were the words "Lady Chinky Eyes" a nickname obviously put there by the employee who served her. The New York Daily News reports that Cho was shocked.
“I was very surprised because the lady that was serving me was super nice and we joked and it seemed super normal.”
The Papa John's employee obviously didn't know what Cho did for a living. reports that she is the Communications Manager for ProPublica, a non-profit, independent investigative journalism publication. So she did what came naturally. She used her Twitter@MintyMin account Saturday afternoon to tweet,
“Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t ‘lady chinky eyes.’”
Cho also included in the tweet a big, high-quality image of the offensive receipt. Shortly after she posted it, Cho's Twitter following broke 1,000. Replies to Cho’s Twitpic were not all sympathetic. Some said the printed nickname was funny, while others indicated they were disgusted with the incident.
Papa John's tweeted a response Saturday evening that the employee will be fired.
"We are very upset by recent receipt issue in New York & sincerely apologize to our customer. Franchise employee involved is being terminated."
Before that tweet, the Daily News spoke with a Papa John’s assistant manager who said she was certain her employees didn’t mean to offend the customer.
“I apologize. They’re not bad people. I’ve seen the receipt and I don't know why they wrote that but I’m sure they didn’t mean to offend her in any way.”
But the owner of the Papa John's in Manhattan, Ronald Johnson, said that he was shocked over the incident and would henceforth hold sensitivity trainings to make sure his employees never did anything similar again.
“It’s just wrong, I was shocked and I was very, very upset about it.”
He added that the employee who prepared the receipt was a teenager who he believed was misguided by the “hip hop culture” of today.
“It’s unfortunate, but this is the modern culture that they’re involved in."
Cho was somewhat satisfied by the response, saying,
“I wasn’t super angry about it. I (just) can’t believe this happened in this day and age.”
And will she continue going to Papa John's for pizza? She says,
“Some of the tweets I’ve gotten back are, ‘Why are you going to Papa John’s when you live in New York City?’”
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