Add proposing to the love of their lives as yet another thing Black people cannot do in peace.
According to WHEC, a Black man who was proposing to his girlfriend over the weekend at the Angry Orchard farm in Walden, New York, was interrupted multiple times by security guards accusing them of theft.
Cathy-Marie Hamlet posted about the incident on her Facebook, detailing how the joyous occasion quickly turned into a humiliating one.
According to Hamlet’s Facebook post, she, her now fiancé, Clyde Jackson, and some friends were originally celebrating Jackson’s 40th birthday on Sunday.
After brunch, the couple and six friends drove from New York City to the Angry Orchard in Walden to continue celebrations and “enjoy some harder cider,” Hamlet shared.
“My boyfriend walked me out to an empty table on the lawn, and before we could sit down, a young lady from security approached us and said to him, ‘I’m sorry sir, but I have to check you back pocket. I was told that you stole a T-shirt from the gift store.’” My boyfriend then emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight,” Hamlet wrote in her Facebook post.
Once the security guard left, Hamlet’s fiancé started his proposal speech, only to be interrupted again.
“MID PROPOSAL, the same young lady from security walks back towards and says to me, “I’m sorry, I need to check your bag. I was told that he gave it to you, and you put it in your bag.” Mind you, my bag isn’t even large enough to fit a T-shirt,” Hamlet wrote.
Hamlet said that she readily emptied her purse, but now that it was the second interruption in such a short time, she began to question what was actually happening.
“Since this was the SECOND time she had walked over, I said, ‘I know you’re just doing your job, but I can’t help but wonder if this is because we’re Black. We’re the only Black people here at your establishment.’ Of course, she said that that wasn’t the case. She departs again,” Hamlet wrote.
Hamlet’s fiancé was finally able to get through his proposal speech, which she then happily accepted. However, as their friends joined them in cheering and celebrating, they were interrupted yet again.
“Then the other 6 of our friends walked over to us to hug and congratulate us. Then surprise, surprise…the same young lady from security walks over to the group of us and says, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you all were a part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets.’ So at this point, the rest of security walks over and there’s 6 of them approaching us,” she wrote. “Of course, my friends told them none of us stole a T-shirt from their establishment, at which point they started getting aggressive and saying that not only them, but also patrons saw my boyfriend steal the shirt and/or transfer it to me to put in my bag!! Another woman in security yelled to one of the male security, ‘Call the police! I saw you steal it.'”
Hamlet said that the Angry Orchard’s security guards started taking their pictures, recording videos, and even took a picture of her license plate. In the end, the group decided it wasn’t worth it and decided to leave.
“I have never been so humiliated in my life, myself and some of my friends left Angry Orchard in tears. On what was supposed to be one of the best days of my life, I was chased out of Angry Orchard by security who followed us all the way to the parking lot,” Hamlet wrote.
All over a $28 T-shirt, and after enduring multiple searches and questions.
As it stands, Hamlet says she has no interest in drinking Angry Orchard again, and suggested that the establishment be upfront if they have issues with Black people.
“Angry Orchard if you don’t want Black People buying your product or frequenting your establishment, then maybe put a sign on the door so that we know we are not welcome,” she wrote.
According to WHEC, Taylor Roy, a senior communications specialist at Boston Beer Company which owns Angry Orchard acknowledged that the situation was “mishandled,” although Roy added that the confrontation was “based on what security guards thought was a credible claim.”
Roy told WHEC that the company would be implementing additional training for its staff, and said that the company has reached out to the couple to “try to make things right and prevent something like this from happening again.”
As for Hamlet, she noted that the incident at the Angry Orchard should not be happening in today’s society.
“I feel confused and conflicted over what to do now and how to move forward, that one of the happiest moments of my life could be partially overshadowed like this,” Hamlet told WHEC. “It’s sad that in 2019 we still need to have these conversations.”