‘It’s just unacceptable’: Racial slur printed on man’s receipt at Gwinnett business

An amusement center in Gwinnett County fired a 16-year-old employee after he printed a racial slur on a Black customer’s receipt.

Stepfan Black and about eight of his family members went to the Snellville location of Urban Air Adventure Park on July 24 to celebrate his niece’s birthday.

The Atlanta resident shared his name with the Black employee while ordering food for the table.

The family grew impatient as time passed without the food showing up, prompting Black to check his receipt to see what time he placed the order.

“I look for the time of the receipt, and in plain in sight, that slur was there,” Black told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Friday. “... My niece even asked, ‘What does that word mean?’ That’s very disturbing, a 7-year-old asking me that. I can’t lie to her.”

Black spoke to a manager about the receipt, who he said offered the family free french fries and passes to return to the business again. “That was a slap in the face,” he said. “Some fries? Really?”

Black said an employee let his niece participate in indoor skydiving for free after checking the receipt. The employee returned with tickets for his niece but did not return the receipt, he said.

The family stayed at the establishment for two hours after ordering the food, Black said, as he didn’t want to “ruin” his niece’s birthday. During that time, he said no one from upper management approached him to ask about the situation.

Black tried to call the corporate office for Urban Air on Monday and Tuesday to share what happened, but he said he was unable to reach anyone. He later shared a photo of the receipt to his 16,000 followers on social media, at which time the company reached out to him.

Black met with Gregory White, owner of the Snellville location, on Wednesday to retrieve the receipt. Black said during their meeting the owner raised his voice, declined to hand over the receipt and told him to find a lawyer if he wants it.

“Had he (given) me the receipt, that would’ve showed he actually cares about how I feel,” Black said. “I would’ve ripped the receipt up and all this would have been over... Imagine if I didn’t take a picture of the receipt.”

The company posted a statement to social media on Wednesday, apologizing for the receipt. The AJC reached out to White, a Black man, who directed the newspaper to a representative for Urban Air’s corporate office.

Urban Air fired the teenager who printed the receipt after learning of the incident, according to an emailed statement. The company is working with the local franchise group to retrain staff members, the statement said.

“Urban Air Snellville, a black owned business, deeply regrets and apologizes for the inappropriate comment from a former minor, black employee towards one of our valued guests,” the statement said. “We are a family owned and operated business and have a zero-tolerance policy for this behavior.”

The company provides “system-wide sensitivity training” and strives “to create an inclusive environment where every guest and employee feels welcomed,” according to the statement.

“Everybody is entitled to mutual respect,” Black said. “... If somebody was to say something disrespectful, that’s like a stab. But what was the twisting of the knife was the racial slur... It’s just unacceptable.”