Recently, a series of videos of a white woman berating Sergio Bedar – the general manager of Tampico Mexican Restaurant, the Parkersburg, West Virginia restaurant she was patronizing at the time – for speaking Spanish went viral. And while the videos are very telling, they don’t give us the full story. That’s why our friends over at Latino Rebels hopped on a call with Budar to learn more about what happened at one of the restaurants he manages.
Budar, who also manages the Tampico restaurant in Marietta, Ohio, said that he sat at a table with the owner of the restaurants and a partner to discuss some plans. They’re in the midst of expanding the franchise. The three of them – born in Mexico – spoke in a mix of Spanish and English, which is when the white woman approached them to complain about them using Spanish. Budar – who never thought something like this would happen to him – initially thought it was a joke. But when she returned to her seat and continued to tell them that they needed to speak English because they were in the United States, Budar approached the booth where she and a man with a white beard sat.
Budar, who told Latino Rebels that he was trying to de-escalate the situation, apologized to her, but she continued to rant. “Well, I’m sorry about you, too,” she said, as captured on video. “Get the fuck out of my country.”
At the time, he may not have verbalized how he felt, but Budar, who arrived to the United States in 1999, had some thoughts about the woman’s “get the fuck out of my country” comment. “How am I supposed to get out of your country?” he later told Latino Rebels. “This is my country, too. I’m a US citizen, just like you.”
Budar eventually got the woman to leave the restaurant after offering to pay for her meal. Some may have considered that the wrong way to handle it, but Budar said he didn’t want to make things worse. “Yes, as a human being you are mad,” he said, “but at the same time, it’s not worth it.”
Check out the interview below: