A Black waitress at an IHOP in Texas received a racist message from customers who spelled out “KKK” with pancakes, sparking outrage on social media on New Year’s Day. Tenasha Ballard, a waitress in Sherman, Texas, had waited on four high school kids recently, KXII reported. After she returned to their table with a to-go coffee cup, she found no kids. Instead, there were pancakes cut into the letters “KKK” on the table.
“At the moment I’m like I don’t believe this,” Ballard said. “I’m seeing this wrong. So I went to the tables at the front and said what do you see on this plate? What letters are these? And they said KKK. And I said I thought so.”
Ballard was so disturbed and offended by the hateful “KKK” message that she took a Snapchat picture of the pancakes. She also posted the image on Facebook before going to bed that night. The photos were shared hundreds of times but were later taken down.
“They just crushed my spirit,” Ballard explained. ” I didn’t know what to do after that.”
“I just can’t get over it because these kids we were just joking,” Ballard also said. “And then it got serious and I’m like how. How? Like what was it besides my skin color that made you think this was going to be funny.” The kids wore letterman jackets, Ballard said. Some blame was placed on the waitress by people who said she “called out the town,” however, Ballard rebuked it. The teens most likely felt they could disrespect her with the horrible act because they could get away with it, she explained.
IHOP’s corporate branch released a statement about the incident, Law & Crime reported. “Any display of discrimination is against the IHOP brand values and the values that the franchisees of this location upholds,” part of the statement reads.
Ballard has a simple message for people: “Respect people. It’s one of the things that I was always taught. If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it. Don’t spell it in food. Don’t say it.”