On the way home from taking her children to visit their grandmother in Zion, Illinois, mom Deianeira Ford decided to stop off at a local Dairy Queen. She ordered, she paid, she waited for food.
What she got wasn't what she ordered and part of it was missing. She pointed it out, but was told the order wouldn't be fixed. So she asked for a refund of the $5 box. And that's when owner James "Jim" Crichton demonstrated the worst of humanity and unbelievable customer service to boot.
He gave Ford and her two children something that would leave a bad taste in their mouths for years to come.
"He called me and my children n—–; he said I can go back to where I came from,” Ford told reporters.
Shaken and astounded, she called 911 from her car. Zion police responded, took her statement and went to talk to Crichton.
She said, and police confirmed, that Crichton told her that he could say whatever he wanted to since it was his restaurant and that "any accusations and complaints would fall on deaf ears."
But wait, that's not all.
According to Ford, the owner then whipped out a cellphone and said he was going to take a picture to post on Facebook, because he wanted to "show the world what kind of n—— he has to deal with." He then closed the window and walked away, leaving Ford alone with two children in an ominous cloud of rage.
And just like that, a tiny voice rose from the back seat of their car: "Mommy," called her 3-year-old daughter, "we n——?’ ”
Crichton was still agitated when police arrived at the scene. He was egotistical when questioned and proudly admitted to calling Ford the n-word before declaring that he was "fed up with black people."
Despite the abusive nature of the police report, Zion Police Chief Steve Dumyahn told reporters that "while this alleged activity is deplorable, it is not criminal."
When Deianeira Ford returned home, she wrote a Facebook post describing her encounter. That post stirred an outrage so intense that the town's Dairy Queen, about 50 miles from Chicago, is no longer open for business.
Score one for social media and moms who aren't afraid to fight back.
The post was shared thousands of times. Meanwhile, dozens of locals showed up at the DQ to protest the owner's treatment of Ford and her family.
Though Crichton issued a statement apologizing for his actions, one that acknowledged he let his family, friends, employees, system and community down, it was a little too late for racial repentance.
Dairy Queen corporate headquarters released this statement shortly afterward:
"The recent actions of this franchisee are inexcusable, reprehensible, unacceptable and do not represent the values of the Dairy Queen family, our employees, fans and other independent franchises around the world. We expect our franchisees and their employees to treat every single person who walks through their doors with the utmost dignity and respect. Nothing less is acceptable."
While Ford is satisfied with Dairy Queen's corporate actions, she said told the Washington Post she's still dealing with the damage Crichton perpetrated on her daughter, whom the bi-racial mom now must attempt to explain racism.
“She kind of still brings it up—that’s just how she is. She said, ‘Why did that mean man say that to me?’”
Ford's attempt to simplify things for her girl?
“I [told her] some people are just mean. Some people don’t have good hearts.”