Accidentally jamming to N.W.A.'s gangsta rap anthem "Fuck Tha Police" in the presence of police would have been one thing. Doing it on purpose, however — while on the job? That's the kind of thing that'll get you instantly fired, which is what happened to a Going's BBQ employee in Crosby this week.
On Monday, a friend of police officers who dined at the restaurant with them posted a long rant on Facebook after his cop friends were understandably offended while they tried to enjoy some barbecue to the tune of N.W.A's "Fuck Tha Police" ringing out from the kitchen.
"I was completely shocked and thought surely no one was doing that as a dig on cops. Well I was shocked again," wrote Shane Cates. "I walked behind the counter where the cooks are...The guy washing dishes was singing the song and pointing out towards the eating area. He turned and noticed me standing there and started laughing."
His post was shared thousands of times, prompting a firestorm of hateful social media vitriol directed not just at the employee but also at the restaurant and its ownership. Cates had written that when he returned to Going's on Monday to speak with management, the manager only laughed at him and said, "Well, you can eat here today because the boy is off today." In response, customers and maybe totally random people started writing on the Baytown location's page and the Crosby page, saying, "It would serve you right if you were robbed and the police didn't respond to your calls!" and "I will never step foot in your establishment again."
Now, upper management is trying to salvage the restaurant's reputation in the community, having fired the dumb 17-year-old who played the song and having apologized both publicly and to dozens of angry customers personally. The owner, Rigoberto Ruiz, said on Facebook that a language barrier contributed to the manager's mishearing Cates when he came to complain that day — an explanation that didn't go over well on social media — and that the 17-year-old employee was playing the song after his supervisor had left the kitchen.
"This began as a joke by a young and reckless teenager that was unaware of the magnitude of his actions," Ruiz said. "Goings BBQ as a company did not, nor will ever condone such language nor such blatant disrespect directed towards an officer or any other individual. The actions of a young, thoughtless employee do not represent the company's stance on our local law enforcement and as such he has been released."
Ruiz told us that, while this happened, he and Going's management had actually been planning a law-enforcement fund-raiser, as they do every year. Now, though, he thinks it'll look like they're simply trying to beg for forgiveness.
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"Unfortunately, the fund-raiser is going to look a bit reactive, but we're going to do it anyway — the police officers will get a free meal on the house," Ruiz said. "We at Going's BBQ have always stood beside our men and women in blue, and we'll continue to do so."
After accepting Ruiz's apology, Cates appears to have taken down his original post and has written a new one, asking other customers to forgive the barbecue joint as well. He even met with the manager, who apparently misunderstood him and conceded that, actually, there did appear to be a language barrier.
"I walked away from this meeting not only proud to know that these people do support Law Enforcement but also confident they will never allow something like this to happen again," he wrote. "It saddens me to see these people hurting for the actions of a few people that were just employees."