#LivingWhileBlack Dunkin' Donuts Owner Calls the Cops on a Black Woman for Using their FREE WiFi
In the latest case of #LivingWhileBlack a Virginia woman had the police called on her for sitting in a restaurant and using their free WiFi!
46-year-old Tirza Wilbon-White had used the free WiFi at the Fairfax, Virginia location in the past with absolutely no problem until one day last week. Moments after she entered the building and sat down, Wilbon-White was approached and told she HAD to buy a cup of coffee.
"She told me I had to buy a cup of coffee to stay there only minutes after I sat down. Literally minutes. Didn't have time to pull out my charger for my laptop. Then she pointed to a brown-skinned man as evidence of equal treatment and used him as an example of someone who she made buy coffee to use their WiFi. He said, "I'm actually using my own hotspot but whatever." I asked about the white man in front of me and if she spoke to him. She ignored that question and asked, "Are you going to buy a cup of coffee?" I said, "I planned to, but I'm not going to buy one because you mandate it. WiFi in DD is free.'"
Wilbon-White recorded the incident and posted the videos with the caption:
"For all the videos I've seen of racial profiling, I am now in their company. Yesterday another gentleman and I were profiled at a Dunkin' Donuts store. Not an employee, but the owner of the franchise -- the owner -- called the police on me when I pointed out her racist behavior. The police arrived, and they ordered me to leave. This is what it means to be black in America. I am a regular in this location and her employees know me by face. They have saved my power cord when I've forgotten it and given it to me the next time I came. But, this was the first time I met her.
Here are the video recordings. I told the police I would record our conversation. My husband called during the recording and interrupted it, but the essence is there.
She said WiFi is not free. She said I had to make a purchase or leave. When I told her she couldn't mandate a purchase from customers, she said she was calling the police. I asked for her business card because I was going to call the corporate office to ask about their policy. She first agreed to give me her business card and then she refused when she realized I was recording our conversation. The other gentleman got up and left. She said she's going to post signs to let customers know they must make a purchase to be in her store. I left when the police told me to leave and said they would wait until I did. Wow. Later I called corporate office and received a case number.
A Dunkin Donuts Customer Service supervisor told me their policy requires all franchise owners is to offer free WiFi.
A franchise owner attempted to bully me. She lied about corporate policy, attempted to force me to make a purchase to be in the store because she has a loitering problem. She called the police to force me to leave when I told her she was profiling the gentleman and me. In her mind I was the "people" who loiter. In reality, I was a customer in her store, until yesterday, and I have been for more than 2 years.
I am still angry, more than 24 hours later, and I want justice for the humiliation I experienced. Please share this and help me get justice. The owner, Christina Cabral, and her family own several Dunkin' Donuts locations throughout Maryland and Virginia. I am not the only one they have treated this way, but hopefully I will be the last one they treat this way.
Updated to include location: 9550 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax, VA 22031."
Dunkin' Donuts released a statement Via Twitter that stated:
"We and our franchisees want every customer to be treated with dignity and respect which did not happen at a restaurant in Fairfax, Va. We have apologized to the customer but know that it is not enough…
Our franchisees may set their own policies on Wi-Fi usage and whether to limit its use to those who make a purchase. We are focused on helping our franchisees improve operations from store signage, recommended policies, and training. We are committed to doing better."
Yeah, please DO BETTER!
So, I guess this is another thing we have to add to the list of things WE CAN'T do while Black. I've used free WiFi when I've been on the go and had to pop open my laptop to look up a story, check a website, finish writing a proposal or check an address. Once, I had the cops called on me for sitting in front of my best friends house in my car too long!
This is absolutely ridiculous!