CARMEL VALLEY (CBS SF) — A woman working as a waitress at a Carmel Valley restaurant where a man berated a Filipino family with racist and vulgar insults is being hailed as a hero for her actions and several online fundraisers have generated thousands of dollars in donations to her.
The incident, captured on a video that has gone viral, shows San Francisco tech executive Michael Lofthouse swearing and delivering racist insults to a family that had been celebrating a birthday at the Lucia Restaurant at Bernadus Lodge & Spa.
ORIGINAL STORY: Tech CEO Michael Lofthouse Berates Family With Racist Insults
Immediately, the server – identified as Jennica Cochran – jumps to the family’s defense, yelling at Lofthouse to get out and not to speak to the family like that.
“No, you do not talk to our guests like that! Get out of here!” Cochran is heard shouting at Lofthouse on the video.
Soon after a GoFundMe page titled “A Big Tip for an Everyday Hero” was set up with goal of $1,000. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fundraiser has generated more than $20,000 from over 800 donors. The organizer said he contacted Cochran so she could agree to giving her email in order to be designated as the beneficiary.
“As much as it’s satisfying to drag the man who who did this to that family, it’s even more satisfying when we lift up the people who stand up to defend those who are on the receiving end of such racism. In this case, that person is this server/yoga instructor Gennica Cochran,” said the notes accompanying the fundraiser. “She spoke out with a passionate fury against this man, possibly putting her job on the line amidst an economic crisis in order to fight back against just a taste of the racism that is running rampant in our country.”
Two other GoFundMe fundraisers for Cochran have generated more than $8,000 but do not have Cochran listed as the beneficiary.
“Thank you so much, Gennica, for standing up to racism with such fierce strength and courage, and protecting an Asian family,” said donor
“This was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments,” the statement said. “I was taught to respect people of all races, and I will take the time to reflect on my actions and work to better understand the inequality that so many of those around me face every day.”
Sean Damery, vice president of Bernardus Lodge & Spa, which includes the restaurant, apologized to the family and said he was proud of the staff. He said the man was escorted off the property without further incident.