Since Donald Trump was elected president last week, the the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified some 300 instances in which Americans were subjected to “hateful harassment or intimidation,” according to CNN.
Now it appears yet another case has surfaced in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where a server was called the n-word, as well as a homophobic slur, on a customer’s receipt. Beneath the hateful note, the phrase #PresidentTrump was written and underlined. Needless to say, the patron didn’t leave a tip on the $41.45 check.
According to MLive, the incident occurred late Friday night, and an image of the check quickly began circulating around social media, garnering roughly 500 comments on Facebook. Though some users questioned the authenticity of the the note—and the media has failed to identify either the server or the perpetrator—TGI Fridays ultimately responded to the controversy, stating that the company is aware of the message and has been in contact with local law enforcement agencies.
“Now is the time for everyone to come together. We're focused on making sure every guest and team member feels cared for, valued and respected,” the company wrote in a statement to the Kalamazoo Gazette and MLive Media Group. “We, in no way, condone the reprehensible comments made by this guest. We have been in contact with the local authorities and have shared all the information we have. We'll continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our team members and our guests."
Though a Kalamazoo County undersheriff told reporters that the note might not constitute a hate crime—citing freedom of speech laws—bigots around the country have seemed emboldened in recent days, scrawling swastika and the words “Make America White Again” on walls.
“[Hate crimes] have been everywhere,” Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told CNN. “[I]n schools, in places of business like Walmart, on the street.” And now, it would seem, in chain restaurants.