While eating at a local burger joint, a customer noticed a “racist” sign over the counter. However, soon after the angry patron insisted that the owner remove the controversial message, they noticed who was outside waiting for them.
While eating at Gross’ Burgers in Danville, Illinois, repeat customer Sam Schnelle couldn’t help but notice a small yellow sign hanging above a window inside the diner. When she took a closer look and read the message, she simply couldn’t believe her eyes. In bold red lettering, the sign read, “If you CAN’T read this, thank a Marine,” pointing to some Arabic script that reportedly translates to “Allahu akbar,” FOX News reports.
Shocked by the politically incorrect message, which had apparently been on display at the restaurant for a decade, Schnelle wasted no time in taking to social media in an effort to shame the establishment and possibly generate a boycott. In a post that was quickly deleted, Schnelle captioned a photo of the sign with “F*ck Grossburgers. Absolutely disgusting,” the Washington Examiner reports. She then called the restaurant to make her demand.
“Just called Grossburgers. I asked them to take the sign down and asked to speak to the owner,” Sam Schnelle said. “They then handed the phone to the manager who said ‘We are most certainly not taking it down. YOU PEOPLE are too sensitive now a days.’ And then proceeded to argue with whatever recommendations/points I made and then hung up on me. Nice.”
Expectedly, Schelle’s post garnered support from like-minded individuals connected to her profile. It was then that she likely believed her cause would end in misery for the business owner. What she soon encountered was quite the opposite.
Once her post and the accusation of racism against Gross’ Burgers gained steam, people across the country defended not only the owner’s right to display his personal belief but the true meaning behind the sign’s message, which refers to Islamic conquests and Sharia law and not merely the Arabic language. Soon, there were customers flocking to the diner, boosting business better than ever. Patrons arrived to send a message to Schnelle and her followers.
Gross’ Burgers owner Brad Gross, who is a Marine himself, was overwhelmed by the support he received, he told WCIA. Business is doing wonderful, and he couldn’t be more grateful for the positive feedback he is getting.
“The bumper sticker has been in my restaurant for more than a decade from a Marine that served in Iraq. He brought it in and asked me to put it up, and I said sure go ahead and put it up and it’s been there for all these years,” he said.
Gross told Fox News that he holds a special reverence for military members and employs several Marines at his restaurant. He claims that he even received the sign from a Marine who had served in Iraq.
Those opposing the sign took the message to be disparaging toward Arabs and those who speak a language other than English. Many of them expressed their disapproval on social media, immediately calling the restaurant owner racist.
“Come for the burgers, stay for the blatant racism!” one person commented on the post. Another wrote, “If you can read it, thank yourself for being a multicultural human and not a xenophobic garbage human.” On Schnelle’s original Facebook post, one user asked, “Why are all these Americans cheering for ignorance? The ability to speak more than one language should be applauded. Pathetic.”
However, others quickly pointed out that there was more to the message than a reference to the Arabic language. The sign, they said, points out that our constitutional republic would likely be a tyrannical regime if not for our military.
“It’s not about speaking another language. Be fluent in as many [ways] as you want. That’s great. But the sign is about being under a Muslim law or Sharia law & government that would make us write Arabic and abide by their laws,” one person wrote. “We need to thank our military we are not forced to be under that type of law.”
Gross has doubled down on his decision to keep the sign in its place, arguing that he won’t cater to the demands of a tiny minority of his customers. Thanks to the support from his community and others across the country, he certainly isn’t feeling the pressure to do so.
Like many others, the incident has sparked debate on whether businesses should inject politics into their establishments, even if they aren’t affecting the products and services. For now, Gross’ decision to do just that has paid off nicely.