Two employees have quit a consignment shop near San Diego after their manager allegedly used racist language while dealing with a Hispanic customer at the store last week.
Celia Miranda, one of those employees who resigned in protest, told San Diego ABC affiliate KGTV that her manager got into an argument with a customer over a contract she had signed and told the customer, "I think that people who do not speak English have no business consigning here."
Miranda said she tried to defend the woman and her young daughter, who wanted to buy back a pair of shoes she'd left at the Encinitas, California, store, called "My Sister's Closet," but was forced by her boss to leave.
"They humiliated me in a terrible way, and I’m frustrated I didn’t help her more," Miranda told KGTV. "I wanted to help her more, but they made me leave."
The owner of "My Sister's Closet," Ann Siner, apologized to the customer and promised to better deal with Spanish-speaking customers in the future.
"We apologize for the experience a Latina customer had at our Encinitas store earlier last week," Siner told KGTV in a statement. "At My Sister’s Closet, we want all of our customers to feel welcomed at all our stores and treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Always. We value inclusion and diversity. Always. We are a woman-owned business with 64 percent of our workforce at our Encinitas store being Latina."
Miranda said part of the reason for quitting was due to her own Mexican heritage, and empathy for the woman. She came to Southern California and is now a U.S. citizen.
"I have never seen a human being treated like that," Miranda said. "It broke my heart."
Jordan Daniels, who was also working that night and quit, told KGTV, "I wanted to take pride in where I worked, and I no longer felt that way working there."
Siner said the store will hire a "dedicated Spanish-speaking coordinator" for the Encinitas store and implement new "customer service and inclusion training."
"We are part of the communities we serve," Siner said. "We apologize to the customer for this unfortunate incident and pledge to make sure it never happens again, and we are an example in San Diego for inclusion and valuing our diverse community."
She did not say whether the manager who used the language would be fired.