A waitress has received $82,000 in tips from people around the world for simply doing the right thing—standing up to a racist customer who was harassing an Asian family.
Gennica Cochran, who works at Lucia restaurant in Carmel Valley, California, had to escort 37-year-old Silicon Valley CEO and racist Michael Lofthouse out of the restaurant after he yelled “Trump is going to f*** you” at the Orosa Chan family out for a birthday meal on July 4th.
“I felt very protective of them,” Cochran said. “To hear the emotion coming out of my voice, to see my mannerisms, it was unbelievable it was just something that came over me and I just did what needed to be done.”
Footage posted by Jenny Chan on Instagram shows Lofthouse shouting racist abuse at the family, including calling them “f****** Asian pieces of s***.” Lofthouse also is seen giving them the middle finger. “You f***ers need to leave,” he says, before Cochran steps in and tells Lofthouse to get out.
It was the first time Lucia had opened back up after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the family was celebrating a birthday. Cochran said she could not let racist abuse ruin their experience.
“You are not allowed here. You do not talk to our guests like that,” she says.
Then Lofthouse turns to Cochran and asks, “who are these f***ers?”
Without missing a beat, she tells him they are “valued guests”—to which Lofthouse responds, “Are they? They are valued guests in America?”
Cochran then tells him to get out. “You are not allowed here ever again,” she says.
Chan wrote on Instagram that the ‘white supremacist’ businessman began harassing her family soon after they sang happy birthday to her aunt. Aside from the racist comments caught on camera, she said he also told them to “go back to whatever f****** Asian country you’re from” and that “you don’t belong here.”
Lofthouse is a UK-born CEO of California-based Solid8, a small tech company with a crappy-looking website. He emigrated to the United States in 2010. He later told DailyMail.com that “this was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments.” Lofthouse has since stepped down from Solid8 and cut all business ties with the company. He says he is now enrolled in an anti-racism program.
Folks who saw the videos decided that they needed to tip Cochran for being an incredible waitress and human being. Three GoFundMe accounts have raised a combined $82,000. Cochran says she plans to use the money to pursue yoga teaching and also help others in the service industry.
“I did what anybody else should or would do in that situation,” Cochran said.
She also has a message for the Orosa Chan family: “I love you. I’ve got your back always. I will always speak up for you and please come back to Bernardus, I’d love to buy you a drink. And please just know that those words are not the values of the people that live here on the Monterey Peninsula.”
Cochran’s advice to everyone else? “If you see something do something. Stand up against racism and hatred in any form any time you can.”