After a series of viral texts, Valley Center teen and restaurant owner speak out
Valley Center, KS (KAKE) -- Vincent Vaughn, and 18-year-old looking for extra cash, was referred by a friend for an opening at Panda Kitchen in Valley Center. He jumped on the opportunity.
Vaughn started texting the owner, Dan Ling. Ling asked Vaughn for a picture of himself, so Ling knew who he was.
Soon after, Vaughn's friend who had told him about the job, texted him a screen shot of conversation between her boss and her. Ling had asked if Vaughn was black.
“Then he said, like when he asked is he very black. I was like, what does that even mean," Vaughn said of the exchange.
In follow-up texts to both Vaughn and his friend, Ling said that he could not hire him, because he was afraid his hair would get into the food. He was worried that the hat the employees wear would not fit him.
When Vaughn texted Ling back, letting him know he felt he was being discriminated against, Ling reiterated the concerns about his hair but took things one step further adding, “your skin color makes us hesitate a bit.”
That message leaving Vaughn in disbelief.
“I never thought I would experience it. To be honest. I would like learn about it, thought it was history class, but it's not history, to be honest.
Ling tells KAKE that the text boils down to a miscommunication and language barrier. He immigrated here from China and English is his second language, adding, "We do not hate any color of people. I did not realize some people had a problem with color."
Ling has already made plans to apologize in person to Vaughn.
Vaughn said that he is ready to move on even though the damage is done.
"How do you say sorry for that? I mean, I'll forgive him, clearly but what said was said," Vaughn stated.