An oil-change shop in North Caroline is under fire after an employee called a customer “poka honas” on her invoice. The unnamed Asheville woman provided a screenshot of the Valvoline Instant Oil Change receipt containing racial descriptor — apparently referring to Pocahontas (but misspelled), one of President Donald Trump’s favorite ways to refer to presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren — and gave it to a friend.
The friend then posted it to Facebook on Monday.
“This is a receipt from service at the Valvoline on Merrimon Ave. for a friend who happens to be a person of color,” Ashley Garrison wrote on Facebook, on behalf of the invoice’s recipient. “THIS IS NOT OK. Maybe they thought they were being funny. Maybe they thought no one would notice. Whatever the motivation, the racist labeling of a person is never ok, whether at a business or otherwise.”
Garrison went on to say that the oil change story “already lost my business,” and even suggested that the franchise implement racial insensitivity training.
According to an update on the post, the training was something that the disgraced customer also suggested when speaking directly with corporate about the incident. Since that conversation, she has provided Garrison with a statement assuring that the employee responsible had been fired.
“I was met with an immediate apology, empathy, and concern,” the customer wrote. “They stressed that Valvoline does not condone this individual's behavior and as a result, terminated him immediately after their records were reviewed alongside my complaints.”
Valvoline representatives did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, Matt McKeown, the CEO of Quality Automotive Services, the local Valvoline Instant Oil Change franchisee, provided the following statement to North Caroline station WLOS:
“We are proud to be part of the Asheville community for the past seven years. Our company maintains four locations in the Asheville area and employs nearly 50 people to serve thousands of guests in the region each year. Our company and the Valvoline Instant Oil Change system as a whole do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. The core promise of our system, namely that of providing quick, easy and trusted service, is founded upon professionalism, respect and fair treatment. In demonstration of our commitment to that promise and the underlying values, our company has investigated the complaint and terminated the employee involved. The employee's actions in this case contradict our company's culture and the broader tone set by Valvoline Instant Oil Change. In addition, our leadership team has personally reached out to this guest to apologize for the invoice. We would like to reiterate that apology to the guest and expand it to their family and the community.”
People within the Facebook post’s comments are divided over the situation, with some saying that the company has officially lost their business, while others acknowledge that the business has taken swift action to rectify the situation.
Regardless of differing opinions, the customer added, “I am humbled and inspired by the support and activism shown in response to this act.”
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