Hot Springs Auto Body shop says customer refused service because employee was Black

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.– The owner of Stroope Tire off Ouachita Avenue says he’s saddened after a customer in his shop insulted his employee Thursday.  

Donald Stroope says a white man came into his shop with a flat tire and asked if someone could fix it. However, when an African-American employee tried to help, he says the man refused the service. 

“I said, Sir, what’s the problem… and he says ‘I don’t like black people.’ Really? Really? “Robert Burrell was the employee who was trying to help fix the flat tire. He says he was shocked when the customer reacted in anger.  

“He saw me, slammed the door closed, and drove forward,” said Burrell. “It’s just uncalled for.

“Stroope says the incident happened around noon, which is a time when his shop is filled with customers. 

“It brought tears to my eyes and my customer’s eyes,” Stroope. We talked to one man who was there to get his tire patched and overheard the comments. 

“I wanted to cry for him,” said Darrin Fikes. “You could see he was crushed, you could just see the life go out of his body.

“Instead of getting a different employee to help the customer, Stroope says he told the man to take his flat tire elsewhere. 

“You’re welcome to come in, but racism is not,” said Stroope. 

Stroope says they posted about the incident to their Facebook page where Burrell has received an outpouring of support from the Hot Springs community. 

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