Andy Ternay entered the First Watch café in Richardson, Texas, accompanied by his partner, and proceeded to place an order. However, his visit took an unexpected turn when the restaurant manager approached him and requested that he leave.
Taking to Facebook to recount the incident, Ternay explained, “First, we were approached by a manager who informed us that customers were highly distressed by my shirt, expressing concerns about children potentially seeing it. I conveyed my sympathies and explained that having to discuss explicit phrases with my daughter was equally unpleasant.”
The controversial shirt featured the message “F**K TRUMP AND F**K YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM” on the front, with “F**K THE RACIST ALT-RIGHT” on the back.
According to Ternay, the manager stated that a group of customers was “suffering due to my indescribable poor taste.” Ternay, however, maintained that he did not see an issue with his attire. The situation escalated after they had been served drinks and placed their orders, leading a cook to ask them to leave.
“We asked to tip our server for occupying her table, get drinks to go and leave. One table of white people applauded,” Ternay continued. In the parking lot, a black server informed him that he had quit after witnessing Ternay being asked to leave, revealing, “He told us: ‘you should hear these people asking not to be seated near Muslims.’”
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Ternay mentioned receiving positive comments about his shirt from people of color. “[A] Latino lady at the register thanked me [and] two African American servers said my shirt was awesome,” he said.
Ternay clarified that he wore the shirt to make his stance clear to friends, neighbors, and family members, emphasizing, “I don’t want people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ [people], immigrants to feel alone. The proper use of white male privilege is to help lift others. To speak truth to power.”
After leaving the restaurant, Ternay encountered a police officer in the parking lot. Recounting the exchange, he wrote, “I stop the car and ask the officer if she is there over a t-shirt. She affirms this to be true and asks my name which I respectfully decline to give; she starts in on the shirt—whereupon I cite Cohen v. California, 1971, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right to wear a t-shirt saying: ‘F**K THE DRAFT.’ She’s like: ‘Just leave, okay?’”
The restaurant’s corporate office provided a statement to The Daily Beast, explaining their decision to ask Ternay to leave, citing customer complaints about the explicit language on his shirt and the discomfort it caused to families with young children.
Despite the incident, Ternay expressed that he does not intend to condemn or boycott the restaurant. His Facebook post detailing the experience quickly gained traction, with over 42,000 shares. Ternay expressed concern about responses from the African American community, stating, “I have gotten heartbreaking messages from African Americans saying they have lost faith in their white neighbors—they are no longer confident their neighbors have their back. My shirt was a reassurance they are not alone.”