An auto shop in Santa Clara, Calif., fired two employees who were caught damaging a customer’s vehicle while using a mock Asian accent.
The incident: On Sept. 10, a customer, who goes by the nickname “Bill,” went into America’s Tire to get the flat tires on his BMW Z4 replaced but found his car with a large crack in the windshield and a scratch on the hood, according to ABC 7 News.
- Bill checked his dashcam footage and was “horrified” to see America’s Tire employees taking his car for a joyride while mocking him.
- Two men were recorded by the dashcam revving the engine while laughing before one tells the other, “Bro, I’m so done for the day!”
- As they start to pull out of the shop, one says, “I have Edgar throwing valve stems at me,” which Bill estimates might have been what cracked his windshield.
- As the employees ride around, they then start to say things in broken English like, “Why you do dat?” “What da hell? Too fast!” and “I park over here.”
- “It’s blatant racism,” Bill said. He later told the auto shop about the damages, and the company offered to repair his car.
Car enthusiasts: The situation remained quiet until Oct. 11, when Bill’s friend, car aficionado Danny Pak, posted about the incident to his Instagram, which has 220,000 followers.
- The dashcam footage went viral and attracted some users to America’s Tire’s Yelp page where they flooded it with negative reviews. This enabled the platform to temporarily disable posting as Yelp works “to investigate the content.” It also denounced “racism or discrimination in any form,” and included that “all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express points of view we might agree with).”
- Bill said the assistant to the shop’s vice president called him but didn’t apologize and “blamed the employees for what happened.”
- America’s Tire’s PR team released a statement, confirming that the employees were fired: “America’s Tire was recently made aware of the contents of the video and is sorry for the inappropriate conduct of two employees. We moved swiftly to investigate and the two employees are no longer employed by America’s Tire. The customer has been contacted and the vehicle damage claimed is being addressed. At America’s Tire, our policy is to treat all customers with the respect they deserve. Any conduct otherwise will not be tolerated by America’s Tire.”
- The company reportedly requested the Instagram video be taken down in exchange for $5,000 and new tires.
- “It’s definitely insulting because they’re not treating me as a victim of racism,” he said. “They’re treating me as a PR nightmare.