Johnny Wimbrey, an author and motivational speaker, and his wife were planning on enjoying a night out on the town, but their evening came to an abrupt end when they were kicked out of a Plano, TX restaurant.
Wimbrey told WFAA that after being seated at table inside Sambuca 360 and placing an order, the manager asked if they would move to a different table he could seat another patron—a white man.
“I said, ‘No I think we want to sit here. We have a great view. It’s only a table for two.’ We declined the offer respectfully,” Wimbrey recalled.
That’s when things got contentious.
According to a video of the encounter, the manager told Wimbrey he had two options, switch seats or leave.
“He immediately said what you saw in the video, ‘You are going to have to leave’. And I’m like why? ‘Because I don’t like you,’ [he said]. I have to leave because you don’t like me?” said Wimbrey.
When the well-known speaker decided he didn’t want to move to another table, the manager accused him of trespassing and threatened to call the police.
“I tell you to leave right now or I will call the police,” the manager said. When Wimbrey asked why he was being thrown out, the manager told him, “You need to leave now. What you are doing wrong is trespassing.”
Because encounters between police and unarmed Black people can be deadly, Wimbrey and his wife decided to leave the restaurant before police arrived.
“The Plano police show up. They jump out of the car and I thought what would happen if I didn’t leave?” Wimbrey sad.
Sadly, Wimbrey’s story sounds familiar. In April alone, Black people have been accused of trespassing and arrested for patronizing establishments like Starbucks and Waffle House. Wimbrey, who believes race was a factor in how he was treated, could have met a similar fate had he not decided to walk away.
After video of the incident went viral, Sambuca 360 issued a statement calling the whole thing “a mix-up.”
“We apologize for the miscommunication with our guest on Saturday night, which resulted from a mix-up at our host stand,” the statement read. “Sambuca has no tolerance for discrimination and always wants to make every guest feel welcome and respected.”
Despite their denial, the Sambuca Yelp page has taken a hit with many leaving negative reviews.