A Buckhead restaurant owner said she was the victim of an alleged hate crime this week when a customer sent her racist anti-Asian messages and threatened her.
Tse-chih Chang and her husband own the Grand China Restaurant, which they opened in Buckhead in 1978.
“We serve on snow days, rainy days, and all the holidays. We did our best to serve the community,” Chang told Fox5Atlanta.
The trouble started when a woman asked to cancel a delivery order because it was running late, according to Chang.
“You cancel the order, that’s fine. We respect that. but it’s going to take a while to give you a refund. We’ll give you a refund, don’t worry about it,” Chang said.
The woman kept calling Chang’s restaurant from two different phone numbers and said she would keep calling until she received a refund.
“After we gave the credit, we took a photo and sent it to her cell phone. That’s when she sent us nasty and hate crime text messages,” Chang said.
The woman allegedly texted insults with racial overtones to Chang, threatened physical harm, and blamed the restaurant owner for the pandemic.
“Thank flat face b****. This is all going on my review,” read one text message to Chang.
“Y’all some phone thugs for sure bc if it was in person I’d slap tf outta both y’all dirty trash bags,” read another text.
“Y’all the reason covid here dirty a** b****.”
The woman reportedly called again on Monday and called Chang an expletive.
“I feel sad because we’ve been here, serving the community for over 43 years,” Chang said. “The community has to try to get along and support each other. We should respect each other, and we should not look down upon or trash any race.”
Violent crime has spiked in Buckhead, spurring the area’s wealthy residents to launch an effort to declare independence from Atlanta. Residents who support seceding from the city say they are fed up with paying high taxes and getting only rising crime as a thank you.
Last year, racial protests spurred calls to defund the Atlanta police but also coincided with an increase in crime that seemed to particularly target residents of Buckhead, 74% of whom are white. Over the last year, aggravated assaults are up 26% in Atlanta but up 52% in Buckhead. Robberies are up 2% across the city but 39% in Buckhead, while car larceny is up 27% across the city but 40% in Buckhead.
The increase in criminal activity is a stark shift for the formerly safe uptown district. The police presence in Atlanta has been slashed since last summer when metropolitan areas around the country reeled in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Riots and demands to defund the police gripped Atlanta, exacerbated by the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in the city just weeks after Floyd’s death.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported that Chang said this is the first time she has experienced this kind of racist and threatening behavior from a customer. Chang also said she has no hard feelings towards the customer but just wants the harassment to come to an end.