ELYRIA, Ohio (WOIO) - A protest is held in Elyria Township right next to the Dinner Bell Drive-In restaurant. That restaurant is where an African-American mother of two says the husband of the restaurant owner referred to her and her five-year-old son who is autistic by using a racial slur.
The protest that was peaceful and attracted a crowd of dozens of supporters for the alleged victims, went on for nearly four hours on Lake Avenue on Saturday, as some motorists honked their horns in support.
Andrina Holland who says she moved to Elyria from Lorain tells 19 News, “We came to eat. My son went and petted the dog that was another customers. The husband of the owner comes outside and says get your black kid. I said excuse me? He goes you heard what I said, it’s a privilege to have your black (expletive) here.”
According to Holland the very next day the restaurant displayed a sign in front of the restaurant that read, “Black lives don’t matter, all lives do.”
The young mother says she was in shock and was contacted by an employee who said Robert Reynolds allegedly referred to her and her young son by using the “N” word.
“It makes me sad you know because I have to raise two African-American males. It definitely makes me said, it’s just a shame that years later society is still like this,” Holland said.
There was also video where the President of the Elyria NAACP says the same man is seen pulling up Black Lives Matter signs – as several young people placed them on what’s believed to be public property, near the street next to the restaurant.
After making several calls to the restaurant with no response, 19 News walked over to the Dinner Bell Drive-In and approached the owner, Martha Reynolds, she says they are not racist.
When asked if her husband referred to Holland and her son by using a racial slur, the owner replied, “No. He did not I’m sorry. He did not.”
So what about that sign in front of the restaurant that has now been taken down that said, “Black lives don’t matter, all lives do?”
“That’s a mistake my son did. Okay, he has a bipolar disorder and he made a mistake and he apologized. He was trying to say all lives matter,” Reynolds tells 19 News.
But former employees who say they witnessed what happened to tell 19 News that this is not the first time African-American customers have been treated this way. One staff member who has worked there for seven years, and says she quit because of the incident, asked not to be identified.
“Her little child came over to pet the dog which is the owner’s dog. But she thought it was my dog, and the owner’s husband flipped out because of it and called her the “N” word and said it was a privilege that her black (expletive) was sitting here,” the former employee said.
Hannah Croskey was the waitress that day and tells 19 News she quit on the spot that day along with but ten other employees who refused to stand for what happened, “I cussed him out and called him ignorant and checked out. I let him know I was going home to my black child.”
The alleged victim in the incident says she does not want to see the restaurant closed, but wants the husband of the owner to change his ways.
However, the President of the NAACP Ardelia Tolbert says she would like to see the restaurant closed. She says the NAACP has been contacted at the state level and they are looking into the incident.
It’s unclear if the City of Elyria can or will investigate since the Dinner Bell Drive-In is located in the township.