MOUNT JULIET, Tenn.---Is it a case of discrimination or just bad service? Four African-Americans say they went to a Mount Juliet restaurant and the staff ignored them. They also claim they weren't the only black people being ignored.
It's difficult to prove that this is a case of racism but Richard Lindsey says he never experienced something like this before.
Lindsey says it started out like any other one-hour lunch break, "Some coworkers and I went to have lunch at Steak n' Shake in Mount Juliet."
Two days later, Lindsey says he still has a bad taste in his mouth.
"I felt less than human," said Lindsey. "I felt dehumanized. I could not believe that in 2015 in America that this could be happening."
Lindsey says he and his 3 other African-American co-workers did not get service. He says they sat in Steak n' Shake for 25 minutes and didn't even get drinks. He says another African-American couple who came in before them also sat around waiting while other servers tended to white customers, "When we left, they didn't even acknowledge us like they knew why we were leaving. They didn't say, 'Hey, goodbye. Sorry for the slow service'. Nothing at all."
FOX 17 stopped-by Steak n' Shake Saturday and didn't notice any disparity in service. However, it took 15 minutes to get two small milkshakes.
We asked a manager about Lindsey's experience on Thursday at noon and the manager said he isn't allowed to comment.
African- American Patron, Beverly Woodlee, could, "I come here all the time and I've never run into any problems."
"Not even close?" asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.
Woodlee says she's experienced racism in restaurants in other cities, never here. However she under understands Lindsey's concern.
"I've been thinking about it ever since," said Lindsey.
"You never know if it's just bad service," said Hall.
"You don't know. You really don't know," said Woodlee.
We reached out to Steak n' Shake's corporate office but its closed on the weekends. We also left a message on Facebook but haven't yet heard back.