HARTWELL, OH (FOX19) - Protesters were out at the Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken in Hartwell on Sunday afternoon.
They are wanting answers as to why a longtime customer wasn't served first, after being first in line. The customer, Keith Gibson, was also asked to leave the store that day.
"I just don't know what happened from 'I'm going to tell you I'm the first in line,' to 'Don't serve him, don't take his money, he can't eat here,'" Gibson said.
Gibson said the incident happened three weeks ago, and he and his supporters have protested twice since then.
Gibson is a longtime customer of Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken in Hartwell and says his lunch break is short, so he knows to get there early before the store opens.
As for the allegation, he says the person behind him in line was served first.
That person is white. Gibson is black.
Some protesters cried racial discrimination because the cashier and manager who asked him to leave are also white. Gibson said he hopes that's not the case.
"Talking to a lot of white people and black people saying it's a racial problem, I'm not saying that," Gibson said. "I love everybody. I don't get that. Somewhere you have to draw the line and something went wrong somewhere."
Gibson said he wants to know the exact reason he was asked to leave and not served. He also said he's done eating at the location.
"What would make this right, is to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. "But right now it's like I don't know even what it's going to take to make it right, because I'm still trying to find out what really went on."
A current employee reached out to FOX 19 NOW and said, "Lee's employees are being harassed and treated badly over some hearsay. This is not fair to us. The guy who stated all this lied and the store was not even open when this happened. We don't serve anyone other than catering orders before we open. I should not have to be afraid to work so I can support my family. Please get the video from Lee's and find the truth."
A manager at Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken could not comment on the allegations. The corporate office was also closed for comment.