An employee at Guercio and Sons on Grant Street in Buffalo has been fired for what is considered a racist act.
John Washington is well known for his work with PUSH Buffalo. Washington claims, on Facebook, that while while buying a sandwich at Guercio's Wednesday, a worker called him a "gorilla" and a "monkey." His order then had a drawing of a monkey on the wrapper.
There is a photo posted on his Facebook page along with many comments.
"Went to Guercios with Christian Parra today and was politely called a Gorilla and Monkey overcharged for my sandwich then I look at it and they took the time to draw a Monkey on it," wrote Washington.
Among the comments a response from Grace Marie Guercio, saying she wants Washington to message her to offer a direct apology.
"John, I'm one of the Guercio's and also an employee and the situation described in your post is not how we expect our employees to treat our customers. On behalf of the entire Guercio Family we apologize for our employees offensive action. We can assure you that this type of behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated," wrote Guerico.
The employee was fired. National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) President Lana Benatovich tells WBFO News unfortunately, this type of behavior has spread across the country.
“It’s time that we really look in the mirror and say, ‘Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?’ and what we need are a lot of problem solvers because it is a complex time we are living in,” remarked Benatovich. “People have different political views. They have different traditions in their cultures, but that’s what American is. America is a diverse country and I say thank God for that and let us take advantage of that diversity in a positive way," remarked Benatovich.
Benatovich said her organization continues to open dialog on race relations within the community.
“If I see something in the newspaper, if something happened with a police incident in another place or in a school, I’ll pick up the phone and I’ll call the superintendent or I’ll call the police chief and say would you like us to come out and help and have some programming and have some dialog among the people,” explained Benatovich.
WBFO has reached out to both Washington and Guercio for comment but have not yet received a response.