Muslim woman recounts bigoted customer at Kerbey Lane; CEO apologizes


Kerbey Lane Cafe’s chief executive has apologized after a Muslim woman recounted bigoted comments directed toward her and her friend by a customer at the restaurant’s Guadalupe Street location near the University of Texas campus.

They wrote about their experience on Facebook, and the post went viral.

The restaurant posted CEO Mason Ayer’s apology on its Facebook page and its website after he called one of the women, Leilah Abdennabi, and apologized to her, Ayer said.

Both Abdennabi and her friend, Sirat Al-Nahi, wrote about their encounter in Facebook posts. In her post, Al-Nahi said she had “never felt more dehumanized and humiliated than I did this morning.”

According to Al-Nahi, Abdennabi parked their car while Al-Nahi got out to get a table. A man inside was watching her friend park and started insulting her parking, Al-Nahi said.

He said, “she should just go back to Saudi Arabia where she came from,” Al-Nahi recounted.

Al-Nahi — who like Abdennabi was born in the United States — confronted him, asking him to repeat his words, and he did, she said.

“And the same goes for you,” Al-Nahi recalled him saying. “What? You have a gun in there? Just go ahead and shoot me.”

Kerbey Lane employees then seated him at a table, she said. The women spoke to employees, who said there was nothing else they could do.

“Leilah goes to talk to him, and he says the same things in front of the entire restaurant, and nobody says a single thing,” Al-Nahi wrote on Facebook. “As we turn to leave, Leilah, in tears, says, ‘Just go. Everyone knows we were told very racist things, and this restaurant doesn’t feel the need to address it because who cares about us?’ And somebody called out, ‘Nobody.’ And we left. Because it was true.”

Ayer said he and the manager who was there regret how the situation was handled and they should have asked “the hateful guest” to leave.

“I was deeply saddened when I learned of the upsetting events that occurred at our Guadalupe location on Sunday morning,” Ayer wrote. “There should be no place for racist, ignorant behavior in our society, and it’s incredibly upsetting that an incident like this occurred at all.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Hays County judge appoints staffer to Commissioners Court
Hays County judge appoints staffer to Commissioners Court

Hays County Judge Bert Cobb has appointed his chief of staff, Lon Shell, to serve on the Hays County Commissioners Court. Shell, who was sworn in on Tuesday, will fill the seat vacated by Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley, who announced his resignation last week because Conley plans to run for county judge. Cobb, who is battling leukemia, is not...
NEW INFO: Austin police looking for driver who struck, killed volleyball referee last week  
NEW INFO: Austin police looking for driver who struck, killed volleyball referee last week  

Austin police need the public’s help in finding a driver they say was involved in the hit-and-run that killed longtime college volleyball referee Linda Kay Fletcher last week.  Fletcher, 77, was struck and killed Oct. 10 by a gold Chevrolet Tahoe traveling east at a high speed on the 9300 block of Parkfield Drive, police said.  The...
Nearly 30% of Travis County students overweight, study finds
Nearly 30% of Travis County students overweight, study finds

Nearly 30 percent of Travis County students would be considered overweight or obese, according to an analysis of recent school district data by the city of Austin. Health experts say childhood obesity puts children at risk for a variety of physical challenges, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, menstruation issues and respiratory and orthopedic...
How the felony corruption case against Rep. Dawnna Dukes unraveled
How the felony corruption case against Rep. Dawnna Dukes unraveled

On Sept. 6, as they were preparing for their corruption trial against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, a group of Travis County prosecutors went to the Capitol to meet with witnesses they believed were on their side, an official with knowledge of the case recounted. The first meeting was with Steve Adrian, the director of the House Business Office who previously...
Community news: Pfall Chili Pfest, Cedar Park drainage meetings ahead

TRAVIS COUNTY SOUTH AUSTIN Traffic signal added near Southpark Meadows The Austin Transportation Department has turned on a new traffic signal at Slaughter and Alice Mae lanes, just west of South First Street, a component of a broader safety improvement project in the area. The department plans to begin the next phase of the project at Slaughter and...
More Stories