Ugly incident at Chicago crafts store has silver lining after video goes viral

(CBS) — A video of a disgruntled shopper reprimanding workers at an arts and crafts store in Chicago has gone viral.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, thousands have been donated from around the world for the workers in the middle of the confrontation.

In the crush of holiday shopping tempers can flare. It happened amid cheerful Christmas crafts at Michaels in Lake View.

The confrontation — laced with racial overtones — occurred when a customer was reportedly asked to buy a larger bag by a cashier and then her manager, both of whom are African American.

“Your job is to ring people up and tell them to have a nice day,” says the customer, who is white.

Shopper Jessie Grady felt compelled to record the incident, to defend the manager.

“The things she screamed at those employees – nobody should be subject to that abuse,” Grady says.

T>he store manager “was so professional, never raised her voice with this woman, gave her multiple chances to complete her purchase,” she adds. The shopper “just kept screaming and calling her names,” Grady says.

Getting more than 150,000 hits on YouTube wasn’t her intent. She started a Go Fund Me page with the goal of raising $400 for a gift card.

At last check, donations from across the globe total more than $11,000.

“It’s kind of overwhelming because I don’t think I did that much. I feel like I just did what I was supposed to do,” Grady says.

In a statement, Michaels says it does not tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind directed at employees or customers and it is investigating the incident.

Grady says the lesson in all of this is: “Just be kind to people.”

CBS Chicago


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