Motivational speaker Johnny Wimbrey and his wife were enjoying a Saturday night at Sambuca 360 restaurant in Plano, Texas, on April 28, when their evening out took a turn for the worst.
According to WFAA, the restaurant's manager asked the couple to give up their table because a white "regular" wanted it. The Wimbreys refused. Wimbrey says that after that, the manager became angry and asked them to leave the establishment, before threatening to call the police on him and his wife.
Wimbrey believes his race has something to do with the way he was treated that night. "I do believe it’s because of who I am and how I look that they asked me to move tables,” said Wimbrey.
Wimbrey caught the entire exchange on tape and posted it on his Facebook page.
“Why are you asking me to leave?” Wimbrey asked on the video.
“Because I don’t like you,” replied the manager.
The manager could also be heard accusing the couple of trespassing despite being paying customers.
“This is a place where I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars here, and have rented out this space multiple times,” said the author of From the Hood to Doing Good, who also mentioned in the video that he knows the restaurant's owner.
Wimbrey noted that he and his wife left because the police were called and they did not want to get arrested. “I walked in as a normal person, and I should be able to come in as a normal person and listen to some music,” Wimbrey said.
Wimbrey started the hashtag #KeepCalmAndLive to guide other minorities in effectively communicating with police.
#60SecondsToIncrease It's better to be prepared and not called than to be called and not prepared. Personal development is personal preparation. Never argue with a fool in public because the public will never be able to determine which one the fool is!#KeepCalmAndLive#Wimbrey pic.twitter.com/NyVktvQrKo— Johnny Wimbrey (@wimbrey) May 1, 2018
"You have to remain calm under these circumstances to get out alive, and that is unfortunate for people of color,” Wimbrey's attorney, Bobbie Edmonds, told Newsweek. "This a teachable moment for many. Some people get out alive, and some don't. We want to make it right, and we hope the company wants to make it right for Johnny and his family."
Unfortunately, there's the valid argument that even total compliance when communicating with the police isn't a surefire way to remain alive, as has been shown in various police brutality cases.
Sambuca 360 has received several negative Yelp reviews since the incident went viral.
"We apologize for the miscommunication with our guest on Saturday night, which resulted from a mix-up at our host stand. Sambuca has no tolerance for discrimination and always wants to make every guest feel welcome and respected,” the restaurant said in a statement.