There is no playbook for how to deal with someone going on a racist rant in public. But the way server Gennica Cochran handled a bigot demeaning a table of Asian customers is something we can all applaud.
She was working as a server at a Camel Valley restaurant near San Francisco when Michael Lofthouse, CEO of tech firm Solid8, began harassing an Asian family celebrating a birthday.
Lofthouse had been belligerent all night, changing his seat and repeatedly sending back food.
After going on an expletive-laden racist rant at the family for singing "Happy Birthday," Jordan Chan, pulled out his cellphone, began recording Lofthouse, asking him to, "Say that again."
Karen Kicked Out Of Fancy Carmel Valley Restaurant For Being A Racist Dbag To Asian Customer! www.youtube.com
For a few moments Lofthouse was silent, knowing that he was being filmed, but then flipped off the camera, got up from his table and said, "Trump's going to fuck you!"
Cochran then stepped in, confidently shouting, "You need to leave right now. Get out, you are not allowed here, get out now. You do not talk to our guests like that, they are valued guests, you are not allowed here ever again!"
As Lofthouse put his jacket to leave he called the family "Asian pieces of shit."
Cochran pointed her finger directly at Lofthouse and said, "You are not allowed here ever again."
The video is a perfect example of someone having absolutely zero tolerance for racist behavior. She doesn't feel the need to be gentle about her disgust with the grinning, smug Lofthouse.
Nope, she put her foot down, pointed at him and told him his actions will not be tolerated and that he needs to go immediately. Cochran was even a bit surprised with herself after seeing the video.
"To hear the emotion coming out of my voice, to see my mannerisms, it was unbelievable. It was just something that came over me and I just did what needed to be done," she told ABC News. "I did what anybody else should or would do in that situation."
The server says her strength came from the compassion she felt for the family.
"I felt very protective of them," she said. "You don't come in here and say those kinds of things to people. Especially people feel so raw coming out of quarantine. Most of these people this is the first time that they've been out to dinner and then you have someone attacking them it was just no, no, I don't have time for this."
The incident put her in touch with her mamma bear instincts.
"I'm not a mother, but I felt almost maternal," she said. "Right, like this is my family and I will take care of them and I will do whatever I can to protect these people. To have someone hate you just because of the way that you look, that's beyond me. I don't understand it."
After the incident, Lofthouse apologized for his behavior.
"My behavior in the video is appalling. This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments," Lofthouse said.
"I would like to deeply apologize to the Chan family. I can only imagine the stress and pain they feel," he added.
Chan isn't buying the apology and blames Donald Trump for inciting his racist tirade. "He's just saving face. I think he really meant what he said and what he did," Chan told The Washington Post.
"The fact that Donald Trump is our president … gives racists a platform and amplifies voices of hate," she wrote. "The surfacing of racists is so prevalent right now, even in such an ethnically/culturally diverse and liberal state like California, because Trump HIMSELF uses his position to incite racial tension."
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has routinely called the virus the "China Virus" and the "Kung-Flu."
Cochran's behavior in the face of disgusting racism that night is a perfect display of the power of direct action. Her handling of the situation has won her tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
A GoFundMe campaign entitled, "A Bg Tip for an everyday Hero" started by Jeremy Stephens, a complete stranger inspired by her actions, has already earned her $41,000 in "tips."
The server and yoga instructor believes that her actions on that day instilled an attitude she will hold to forever. "It's not something that I will condone ever again, being silent," she said.
After seeing how she handled the situation, there's no doubt she's inspired countless others to take the same stance.
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