Two employees at a Waffle House in Lithonia, Georgia, have been terminated after a video was released showing the workers dumping food on a passed-out customer on January 2. Company spokesperson Pat Warner said that they have been in contact with the customer and have extended their apologies. Following an internal investigation, the employees shown in the video were fired.
“Their actions in no way represent our company or our thousands of associates who strive to provide our customers with a positive experience daily,” Warner said.
The unidentified man’s fiancée told Channel 2 Action News that he wasn’t aware that he’d been publicly humiliated until the video appeared on an Instagram page that also showed other customers being ridiculed. "As soon as I saw it, I was in awe, and I busted out crying,” the man’s fiancée told the news station.
In the video shared with Channel 2, the employees were seen pouring salt and ketchup on the customer’s head as he rested on the counter. The employees also lifted the man’s arms making him appear as if he were dancing. The customer said he went to the Waffle House to sober up and was unaware of what happened while he was there.
“He went to go and get his head together, get his mind straight,” his fiancée said. “He passed out during that time and they took advantage of him.”
After he woke up, he placed an order, ate and walked home. His fiancée believes there may be other victims that are unaware that they have been filmed. The man filed a complaint with the DeKalb County Police Department on January 7 for simple battery. The department told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution AJC.com that in the end, the victim decided not to take the case to court.
An estimated, 7,000 people viewed the video within an hour of it being posted on Instagram, WSB-TV reported. The man and his fiancée were told by friends of its existence. The Instagram account, which was previously public, was changed to private after the news broke. Waffle Houses have gained a reputation for attracting drunk patrons since they are often open 24 hours a day. In a 2015 episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain described the eatery as “an irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts; where everybody regardless of race, creed, color or degree of inebriation is welcomed.”