Protests form in Naperville in response to gas station clerk’s remarks captured on video

Alison Pfaff, Managing Editor

On the corner of Bailey Road and Washington Street in Naperville, drivers and onlookers may have witnessed a group of protesters in front of the Mobil gas station on Thursday night. Protesters held up handmade signs with sayings such as “Racism is not Patriotism,” and “Make Racism Wrong Again.” 

This protest was in response to a video that surfaced Tuesday night, which showed an employee refusing to serve a group of Latino customers. The employee asked the customers, one of them being 15 years old, if they were citizens, and proceeded to say, “They need to go back to their country,” and, “ ICE will come.” 

James Prewitt, a protestor, raising a sign saying “different is not dangerous,” saw the protestors initially while driving by and asked his friend about it. 

“I messaged my friends and was like, ‘Oh, hey, I saw these protestors,’ and they were the ones that let me know this awful thing happened, sent me a link to the article online and the video. I watched it and [thought], ‘hat’s super messed up. It’s 2019. Did you not go to kindergarten? Treat others like you want to be treated? Was it something you were taught? How awful is your life that you have to be hateful to someone that you’ve never met,’” Prewitt said. 

Joshua Luviano, a student at College of DuPage, held up a hand written sign saying “End Racism.” He related his own experiences as a Mexican American and empathized. 

“I’m Mexican American. I’ve come to this gas station a number of times and never experienced that before, but if I were subject to that I can’t imagine how outcasted I’d feel in my own country, my own country I was born in. So I’m out here trying to protect her, show her that she’s not alone in fighting for her rights.”

Earlier during the protest, a man across the street from the anti-racism protest held a sign saying “build the wall.” Some runners coming from the bike trail near the gas station could be heard saying, “Go Trump.” 

Meka Chapman had an encounter with the employee in the video. 

“We would come in, and we’d buy stuff. He didn’t want to put the money in his hand. I’m giving him the money, and he steps back from the counter, and I’m like, ‘Why are you stepping back away from the counter? I’m paying for my stuff.’ And he’s like, ‘Just set down.’ He gave me my change the same way. He set the change on the counter, and he stood back. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, so ignorant.’ Ever since then I’ve stopped coming down here,” Chapman said. 

Chapman and her children came to protest after seeing a lady by herself earlier in the day. She came to the protest to promote equality and fight racism.

“At the end of the day we all may be different shades, but we all bleed the same color,” Chapman said. 

Stephen Kalhorn, the General Council for Buchanan Energy, which owns Mobil and Bucky’s convenience stores, said in a statement the employee is no longer with the company. 

Within the last few hours, a video was posted on social media displaying a Bucky’s associate engaged in a confrontation with a customer. The comments of this associate are not reflective of the core values of Bucky’s Convenience Stores,” it read.

Kalhorn does not believe the surveillance video will be released to the public.