IHOP: Zero tol­er­ance for server's treat­ment of black teenagers


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AUBURN, Maine — The IHOP restau­rant chain has re­sponded to a wait­ress ask­ing some black teenagers to pay up­front for their meal at a fran­chise in Maine by say­ing it has “zero tol­er­ance” for dis­crim­i­na­tion.

IHOP Pres­i­dent Dar­ren Re­belez on Tues­day called the episode at a restau­rant in Auburn an “iso­lated in­ci­dent” and re­it­er­ated the restau­rant is reach­ing out to the teenagers to apol­o­gize. He says “ap­pro­pri­ate dis­ci­plinary ac­tions” will be taken.

The Auburn lo­ca­tion will be closed Thurs­day for train­ing.

Lo­cal man­ager Melvin Es­co­bar says the restau­rant had had prob­lems with teenagers walk­ing out with­out pay­ing. But he says the wait­ress' ac­tions were wrong. He says, “This is the first time it hap­pened, and that will be the last time.”

IHOP restau­rants are run by In­ter­na­tional House of Pan­cakes LLC, a sub­sidiary of DineEquity Inc. in­ci­dent on the Mon­day flight from Hous­ton to New York.

In a state­ment, United called it “a tragic ac­ci­dent that should never have oc­curred, as pets should never be placed in the over­head bin.”

The dog was in a small pet car­rier de­signed to fit un­der an air­line seat. Pas­sen­gers re­ported that they heard bark­ing dur­ing the flight and didn't know that the dog had died un­til the plane landed at LaGuardia Air­port.

United spokesman Charles Ho­bart said the flight at­ten­dant told the dog's owner to put the pet car­rier in the over­head bin be­cause the bag was partly ob­struct­ing the aisle. It is un­clear why the car­rier was not placed un­der a seat, he said.

Ho­bart said United is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent. He said the air­line re­funded the tick­ets pur­chased for the dog owner and her two chil­dren and the fee that they paid to bring a pet on board — typ­i­cally $200.

The cause of the dog's death was not im­me­di­ately known. The spokesman said Chicagob­ased United of­fered to pay for a necropsy.

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