IHOP Server in Texas Under Fire Because of Receipt That Says ‘BLACK PPL’

March 3, 2016 Updated: November 10, 2017

An IHOP in Austin, Texas, is under fire after a server wrote “BLACK PPL” on customers’ receipt for a takeout order, according to reports.

The customers, Arainia Brown and boyfriend Rolman Sparkman, said they went to pick up a to-go breakfast order at an IHOP at I-35 and Cesar Chavez around 3 a.m. on Monday, reported KVUE-TV.

I feel upset, I’m sad, I’m angry. Like this, it makes no sense.
— Ariania Brown

Brown said she immediately became upset. “I feel upset, I’m sad, I’m angry. Like this, it makes no sense,” said Brown.

“You could have asked me my name,” added Brown. “Don’t put, don’t label me. I don’t label you.”

“This is not a joke,” said Sparkman. “It’s very serious and it hurt a lot of people’s feelings.”

Brown said the server was a young black man, identified as Dwayne Williams.  KTBC reported that Williams apologized on Facebook, saying he made a mistake in a rush to get their orders out on a busy morning. He also reached out to KTBC.

“Why would you do that to your own peoples,” added Sparkman, “when you already know what’s been going on in the past?”

IHOP issued a statement on the matter, per KVUE.

It read: “This was a poor choice made by our franchisee’s team member, and is not in keeping with policies and procedures. We recognize that it could be offensive and apologize. Everyone is welcome in our restaurants and our franchisee is using this as a teachable moment for the entire team so that it will not reoccur.”

However, some people on social media said Brown and Sparkman overreacted, with one Twitter user, “Kwanza2times,” telling the couple to “lighten up.”

Another wrote on Facebook: “They got upset because it wasn’t necessary. Like, at all. There was no need for THAT type of identification or labeling, even for a busy place such as IHOP, but that’s what the server resorted to. And look what happened. The server is now branded as a self-hating black guy. If there’s one thing that has been beaten into my head, it’s that carelessness can, at times, cost you big time.”

Added another: “Would you be upset being identified as ‘black ppl’ on an IHOP receipt by an African American server? Can’t specify it as ‘racism’ because it doesn’t fit that description. Do you think the couple was genuinely offended by it, or simply trying to become a trending topic?”