The Chipotle manager who was controversially fired and called a racist for asking a serial dine-and-dasher to pay before ordering has revealed she has ‘officially’ been offered her job back after thousands rallied behind her.
— Masud Ali 🍑 (@Masudaliii) November 16, 2018
Dominique Marie Moran, 23, lost her job at the Chipotle restaurant in St Paul, Minnesota on Friday after a 21-year-old customer accused her of racial stereotyping.
The Daily Mail Reports:
She exclusively told DailyMail.com: ‘I’m not sure if I’m going to take the [job] offer yet. I feel grateful but at the same time I still have questions. I feel like I’ve really been put on blast, so to speak. The circumstances were not how it looked. It looked like a very hateful thing and it was not that way.’
She said that she was devastated to have been painted as a racist. ‘I feel I’m a genuine person and helpful, I thrive from making people happy.
‘I have nothing to hide. I’m not a racist, I know who I am. No one asked my side of the story and I feel I deserve to be heard. People are showing me a lot of support and I’m very grateful.’
Masaud Ali had posted a video on Twitter of the incident on Thursday, saying Dominique refused to serve him and his four black friends and asked them to prove they could pay before taking their order. His post sparked a furious backlash against the manager and Chipotle.
But it later emerged that at least one of the men was a repeat dine-and-dasher, prompting even more backlash against the restaurant for its knee-jerk decision to fire Dominique.
Dominique moved to Minnesota from her home in Long Beach, California, after she was offered a softball scholarship to attend Dakota County Technical College.
She studied early childhood education but took a job as a classroom assistant for high-school students with special needs.
She had also worked on and off at Chipotle since 2013. ‘I came back [to Chipotle] in late 2016 and that’s when I decided I was going to take it very seriously. I went to school to be a teacher but I was taking a break from the classroom. Chipotle is a really great environment to teach people and grow a team, so I had decided that I wanted to become a general manager. That’s what I was working towards.’
The 23-year-old explained the context for what happened prior to Masaud posting the video to social media.
Dominique said that the group were regulars at the Grant Avenue store and usually arrived near closing time. They had also sometimes not paid for their food and this happened again last Tuesday.
Dominique said: ‘I recognized two of the guys and my crew members recognized them as well. The crew expressed to me that they were very frustrated because most of the time, they will hand over a card that gets declined and then they will just leave.
‘That happened on Tuesday. Two of their cards got declined. I said to the guy, “I’m going to take care of it, don’t worry about it but make sure you can pay for it next time.”
‘They came in again on Thursday at the same time. I recognized two of them and I double-checked the cameras to be sure. He was expecting me to say something and I said something jokingly, but he took it to a whole different extent. I guess he saw an opportunity and he ran with it.
‘I shouldn’t have made a joke, but all I said was: “Oh you’re going to pay this time?”
‘He had the camera[phone] up but I thought he was joking. And then I said as a joke, “Oh we have cameras in here too” and that’s when I realized they all had cameras out. At that point, I decided we couldn’t serve them if they were all filming us.’
Dominique had a day off on Friday and had turned off her phone on Thursday night after work because she was stressed and worn out by what had happened in the store.
She said: ‘I woke up around noon, plugged my phone in and I had all these voicemails from my managers telling me to call them right away because the story had really blown up. I had no idea what was happening. Then reality hit.
‘They sent over an area manager and we met up at a coffee shop. She asked me how I was feeling and she said, “You know why I’m here.”
‘I told the manager from Chipotle that I wanted to apologize to the guys and to the company. I wanted the manager to please let the guys know that’s not my character and that’s not who I am. I’m an apologetic person.
‘She didn’t say the words – “you’re fired” but that was what it was. The reason was because I had denied service.’
Dominique said that she doesn’t spend much time on social media so it took her a while to realize that the video clip of her had gone viral.
‘On Saturday, I got a phone call from my mom in California. She said people were sending her the video and she was really distressed and upset.
‘I told her I hadn’t seen the video but I stood up for myself. I know that I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody or profile anybody, the scene escalated and that’s why I refused service. I knew we had to wait it out and the truth would come out.
‘A few hours later my mom told me that people were exposing him on social media for his tweets and were siding with me. I had no idea he was posting that kind of thing but I had felt like I had no proof. The truth prevailed and it didn’t take much to get it out.
‘So many people have been motivating me to speak my mind and explain that I’m not the way I was portrayed at all.
‘I feel bad for the Chipotle team at Grant Avenue. I’ll be okay. Fear has crossed my mind, it’s inevitable but I’m trying to keep my cool. It’s been a mixture of emotions. I went from being hurt to scared.’
After firing Dominique on Friday, Chipotle has now offered her the job back but have not apologized, she said.
‘I really loved my job. I’ve been trying not to think about it.
‘They did offer me my job back but it is hurtful because I’ve put so much time and dedication into it. I worked hard and my team will remember that. I do feel like I’ve got a lot to give.’
Dominique said that most of her wages went to paying off her student loans and that she had been saving money to perhaps one day have her own restaurant.
‘I don’t have any family in Minnesota so my family really was my Chipotle family. That was my life honestly. I worked a lot but I was very passionate about it and wanted to grow the store.’
Dominique, who regularly attends River Valley Church in the St Paul area, said: ‘I consider myself a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, I love to talk about that. If you had asked me before this how long I was going to be at Chipotle, I would have said a long time but now I’m curious to see what God has in store.’
She said that none of those who had led to her losing her job have apologized but that she forgave them.
‘It makes me feel really sick because they did this all with a smile. I forgive them but I only hope that they will learn from it.’
Dominique said that the experience has given her a fear of social media.
‘It makes me feel sick because I’m not really on social media and I got all this attention. This story blew up without any back story and it’s really scary. How many stories are out there are of people being judged, threatened and being called the ugliest of names but people don’t understand what led up to it?
‘To so easily be able to say, “This woman’s a racist” when you know that you’ve stolen from this business. It also makes me afraid for the people who are watching it online and who are eating it up. It’s too easy just to put something out there. It’s really scary – I don’t think I’ll ever want to be on social media again after this.’
She added: ‘I appreciate the people who stood up and said, “something doesn’t look right here.” Ask my people, check my records – I am not a racist. I’m grateful for the support but if people want to hate that’s okay too.’
Dominque said that she now hopes to go back to school to become an English Literature teacher.
After she was fired, Dominique shared surveillance footage on Twitter of one of the men leaning over the counter to confront her and film the ordeal. She has also repeatedly thanked supporters and previous customers who have come out in her defense to describe her as ‘hard-working’, ‘respectful’ and ‘sweet’.
She also shared a petition and GoFundMe page created on her behalf by strangers in the wake of the incident. ‘Can’t thank you enough for the kind words, positive vibes, prayers and warm thoughts,’ she tweeted on Sunday.
Chipotle had said on Sunday that they were reconsidering its decision to fire her after receiving more information about the incident that warrants additional investigation.
‘Our actions were based on the facts known to us immediately after the incident, including video footage, social media posts and conversations with the customer, manager, and our employees,’ Chipotle spokeswoman Laurie Schalow said.
‘We now have additional information which needs to be investigated further. We want to do the right thing, so after further investigation we will re-train and re-hire if the facts warrant it.’
The company said it was aware of reports about since-deleted tweets from Ali’s account between 2014 and 2016 that included jokes about dining and dashing when it decided to fire Dominique.
Chipotle said the decision to re-evaluate the situation wasn’t influenced by the tweets and they have not provided details about the new information.
The whole ordeal escalated after Masaud Ali claimed he had been a target of racism after saying he was refused service at the restaurant on Thursday.
‘Can a group of young well established African American get a bite to eat after a long workout session. @ChipotleTweets??’ he wrote in a tweet alongside a video of the confrontation.
The video begins with Dominique telling the men that they must pay ‘because you never have money when you come in here’.
Ali insisted that he was targeted because of his race. ‘It sounded really racist – the way she said it was racist,’ Ali told the Star Tribune on Friday. ‘She asked for proof of income as if I’m getting a loan.’
He said he was also disappointed that none of the other employees who were on duty spoke up.
Video of the confrontation had been seen millions of times since it was posted Friday.
But tweets later emerged showing Ali had previously boasted about not paying at Chipotle.
‘Aye man i think chipotle catchin up to us fam. should we change locations and yoooooo what should we do about the other thang,’ read a since-deleted post on Ali’s account from 2016.
‘Dine and dash is forever interesting,’ Ali wrote in another since-deleted tweet from July 2015.
Another post from March 2015 read: ‘if you a real ass n***a we [gonna go to] Applebees [sic] and eat as much a we can and tip the nice lady 20cents and walk the f**k out.’
In one post, he also discussed stealing Tabasco bottles from Chipotle and in another it read: ‘Guys we’re borrowing food… that’s it. And if the lady tries to stop you at the door don’t hesitate to truck the sh*t out of that b***h.’ Ali has since deleted all of these posts.
Prior to the tweets emerging, Chipotle on Saturday released a statement saying: ‘What happened here is not how our employees should treat our customer.
‘We don’t ask customers to pay for their meals prior to making them in our restaurants. The manager should have made their food and withheld giving it to them until they paid for it.
‘Regardless, this is not how we treat our customers and as a result, the manager has been terminated and the restaurant is being retrained to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.’
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