For Greg Simons, the owner of the Reedy Creek Family Diner on US 150 in Davidson County, North Carolina, language barriers affect his bottom line. So after some Spanish-speaking customers visited his diner about a month ago, and then left after an uncomfortable situation with the wait staff, Simons decided to put an end to such miscommunications once and for all.
He posted a sign in his restaurant which read, "No Speak English, No Service." But just yesterday, he was forced to take the sign down after he was bombarded with complaints and threats. Someone even threw a brick through his window, according to The Dispatch, a Davidson County newspaper.
"We started getting threatening phone calls and people using colorful language if you will," Simons said.
The bottom of the sign read, "We only speak and understand American." In addition to being translated into Spanish, the phrase "No Speak English, No Service" appeared on the sign in German, French, and Russian. Some have criticized Simons' sign as discriminatory and racist. But Simons waved that criticism aside, saying that everyone's money is green.
"It doesn't really make any sense to me. Why would I want to alienate any customers?" he asked. Simons told The Dispatch, “Nobody here is bilingual. If you can't tell me what you want, I can't give you what you need. It's nothing about race; it's a language barrier. We don't speak any Spanish.”
About a month ago, Simons received customers who only spoke Spanish. "They got offended because we couldn't speak any Spanish. They were frustrated. I was frustrated as well and they left. Unfortunately I don't have anybody here that's bilingual," Simons said. This and others incidents prompted Simons to post the sign. In the past, for instance, customers who only spoke Spanish have sent food back several times due to the wait staff not understanding what the customers had ordered.
Simons took the controversial sign down hoping that he will have no more language-related problems moving forward.