The manager of a Subway restaurant in Spring, Texas, was handed his pink slip this week after a damning text exchange revealed he denied a teenager a job because of her race.
Katelyn Simmons, a rising senior at Klein High School, applied for a job at the sandwich chain to earn some extra cash over the summer before school started up again, according to ABC13. Simmons was crushed, however, after viewing a text messaged from the manager to her friend, who works for the eatery.
“I picked Subway because my friends work there and it’s a really cool spot,” Simmons told Click2Houston. “I thought it would be fun and chill.”
“It’s really discouraging for it to go down like that just because of the color of my skin,” she added.
The teen handed in her application Sunday, and asked her friend to check that the manager had received it. Later on, the friend sent her a screenshot of their conversation.
“Girl brought in her application. I’m leaving it on the table for you tomorrow,” the employee texted.
The manager replied: “Ok thanks. How she look?”
“Black girl long dark hair. Shortish,” the employee wrote.
“Oh, no thanks,” the manager said. “I don’t want those people in our store lol.”
Upon seeing the texts, Simmons said the manager’s remarks “cut me deep.” She took to Facebook to voice her frustration over the incident, writing, “It hurts me to be facing racism today.”
The teen’s mother, Timika Simmons, said she was just as “stunned” and hurt by what she saw, but had faith that their community would help them fight by bringing the issue to light.
“Most of the people who took it and ran with it first are members of this community who know our family and what this community stands for,” the concerned mom told Houston’s FOX 26.
Simmons said a regional manager reached out to her following the incident, though she says the woman wasn’t nearly as apologetic as she’d hoped. The teen and her mom said it seemed the franchise was more concerned about retaliation in the wake of the incident rather than the incident itself.
“[The franchise owner] just assumed again because we’re African-American that there was going to be some type of violent response,” Tamika told FOX 26. Her daughter added “there was no apology … no, ‘We support you guys. We want you to consider being on our team.’ There was none of that.”
In a statement, the sandwich company confirmed the manager who sent the racist text was no longer employed there.
“The manager of this location was immediately terminated for her actions,” Subway said. “The former manager’s actions don’t reflect the openness and values shown by our Subway Franchise Owners and their staff. The Subway brand and its independent Franchise Owner are inclusive, and welcome all individuals to be part of the Subway restaurant teams.”
The company said a franchise owner reached out to Simmons to apologize -and encouraged her to reapply, but the local teen said she doesn’t plan on it.
Despite being rejected, Simmons may not have to wait long for a summer job. She’s been flooded with calls from local businesses who heard her story and is expected to start working with one of them, wellness boutique Quench IV Studio, in the coming days.