What happens when you tell people they “need to go back to their country” and threaten them by saying, “ICE will come”? Sometimes, you get fired. This is the case for a gas station clerk who, at the time, worked at a Naperville “Bucky’s” gas station outside of Chicago, Illinois. As a now-viral video relays, the clerk tells Latinx customers (including a U.S. citizen, though it’s abhorrent either way) to go back to their own country.
On Tuesday, the video went viral. On Wednesday, people protested. As of Thursday, the company has fired him.
“Thank god. I am so happy,” Nicte Buitron, who was at the gas station with family when the incident occurred, told the Chicago Tribune. “What he said to my family was wrong.”
“(The clerk) lost his temper,” Steve Kalhorn, general counsel of Buchanan Energy, which owns the location, said to the Chicago Tribune. “He should have handled things differently.” If by “differently,” he means not spewing racist hate, that would seem to be the case.
Kalhorn noted that he pulled surveillance audio and video from the store after receiving tons of calls about the video circulating social media. From there, the clerk was suspended during an internal investigation. Within days, he was fired.
The video, taken by one of the customers, is embedded below. As some background for the moments before they started filming, Carolina Buitron, who lives in the area, told NBC Chicago that she and some family members (including ones visiting from Mexico) were speaking to one another in Spanish when the clerk allegedly asked them to leave, then called them “illegals.”
“He started asking about my cousins, if they were illegal, family or friends, are they adopted,” Buitron alleged to NBC Chicago as context. That’s when she started recording. In a second video, a customer joins in, telling the family they have “no rights.”
Among other gems, the clerk says, “I’m an American” and follows it up with, “Are you a citizen?” Because… Their citizenship is relevant to them buying some snacks? He also told them they were in “the wrong country.”
Here are the videos, first posted to Facebook:
Vean a este tipo que no nos quiso vender nada porque somos mexicanas, que manera de tratar a sus turistas #fightracism#ignorance #stopthehate #naperville
The Naperville Police Department has seen the video and is investigating, as reported by The Hill.
The Naperville Mayor, Steve Chirico, took to Facebook on Wednesday to comment on the situation, writing:
“Let me be abundantly clear: hate has no home here in Naperville. Quite frankly, this type of behavior has no place in society at large. Our city prides itself on being open and inclusive to all. Civility towards each other is an important component of being a global citizen, and I urge everyone in our community to showcase the kindness, compassion, and good decorum that our residents are known for and that our world needs more of.”
The clerk has not been publicly identified. What’s easy to identify, however, is how closely the rhetoric mirrors what Donald Trump has been spewing.