In the midst of a national controversy about President Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets towards minority congresswomen, a store clerk at an Illinois convenience store has been fired after he was caught on video telling customers to “go back to their country.”
“The employee is no longer employed. He lost his temper and got into an argument with customers. There’s no place for that in our company. We do not accept any kind of discrimination,” Bucky’s Convenience Store’s corporate attorney, Stephen Kalhorn, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. He adds that the company, in Naperville, Ill., prides itself on its diversity, noting the irony that the store’s manager is “female and Hispanic.”
The incident, which prompted a protest, has also kicked off a police investigation and an announcement that “hate has no home here” from the local mayor.
According to local news station CBS2 Chicago, it all began when Carolina Buitron was cycling with six of her family members on July 16 and one bike broke near the convenience store of a Mobil gas station in Naperville.
When 15-year-old Indira Buitron went inside to purchase food, the store clerk in the video began questioning the legal status of their cousins outside, who were visiting from Mexico.
“He’s like, ‘Oh, are those two girls adopted?’” Carolina told CBS2 Chicago. “And she’s like, ‘No, they’re my cousins. They came from Mexico.’ And he asked, ‘Are they illegal?’”
According to the Buitron family, her two aunts went inside to confront the unnamed employee when he refused the teen service.
And in a now-viral video of the heated altercation, the man behind the counter confirms that he is “American,” and questions the women’s U.S. citizenship.
“What is your problem?” says a member of the Buitron family.
The clerk replies that the Buitron’s relatives “need to go back to their country” because “it’s illegal.”
When one of the family members brings up calling authorities, the clerk threatens the women that “ICE will come.”
As the outraged Buitron family members leave the store, the clerk tells the women “you’re in the wrong country,” bidding them farewell with a sarcastic “God bless you.”
One of the Buitron family members posted the video to Facebook, noting, “Check this guy who didn't want to sell us anything because we are Mexicans, what a way to treat tourists,” Mafer Hmurphy wrote on July 16 with the hashtags #fightracism.
The video ignited immediate outrage online, with locals decrying the unnamed employee racist and calling for his termination. The post even prompted a rally outside the Bucky’s Convenience store location the following day, with roadside protesters holding signs that read “racism is not patriotism” and encouraging passing cars to “boycott racism.”
Kalhorn, confirming that the man had been fired, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “The comments of this associate are not reflective of the core values of Bucky's Convenience Stores,” and that the company is working to “ensure that all customers are treated with respect.”
However, Kalhorn notes that he believes the situation has been exacerbated due to the recent Twitter tirade involving Trump and “the Squad” of minority Democratic congresswomen.
“I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion because of the situation in Washington and there not being anything done about immigration at the border,” says Kalhorn.
Meanwhile, the Naperville Police Department announced it was investigating the incident at Bucky’s, and Mayor Steve Chirico publicly condemned the clerk’s behavior towards the Buitron family, adding that the “city prides itself on being open and inclusive to all.”
“Let me be abundantly clear: Hate has no home here in Naperville. Quite frankly, this type of behavior has no place in society at large,” the Mayor wrote in a Facebook post.
He added, “I urge everyone in our community to showcase the kindness, compassion, and good decorum that our residents are known for and that our world needs more of.”
The Buitron family did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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