Former carhop girl sadly recalls act of prejudice
When I was a carhop in high school, one hot summer day an African-American family pulled in – the first I’d ever seen at this root beer stand. I took their order, and when it was ready, I went up to the pickup window expecting to see frosty mugs of root beer like all the other customers got. Instead, I saw paper cups with root beer in them.
I called to the boss, “Why does this family have to drink out of paper cups instead of frosty mugs?”
The boss said, “Our white customers would not want to drink after black people, and next time write it on your ticket that they are black.”
I was upset, ashamed and embarrassed. This was so, so wrong. I was raised to believe God created everyone equal. This went against everything I believed. I’d heard about this stuff happening in the South, but I didn’t think it could happen here.
My heart was hurting for them; unfortunately, they’d probably experienced this ignorant, hateful prejudice many times.
I picked up the tray and took it to their car. I hung my head and apologized for the paper cups.
Apparently, they must have heard my conversation with the boss, because they smiled at me and gave me a 50-cent tip. That was an hour’s wages. I smiled and said, “Oh, thank you so much.” I never got a tip like that before or again.
Times are better now. They don’t have to worry about their little ones being served out of paper cups instead of frosty mugs, thanks to the civil rights leaders, the brave “Freedom Riders,” and Rosa Parks.