Cafe Blasted for Texts to Student Who Wanted Off for Funeral

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A New Jersey restaurant manager appeared to fire a college student after she asked if someone could cover her shift so she could attend a friend’s funeral, according to texts obtained by NBC 4 New York.

The College of New Jersey student Michael Sot, 20, died two days after he and seven other people were injured in a head-on crash near the campus.

When a friend of Sot’s asked her manager at Cafe 72 in Ewing if someone could cover her shift while she attended Sot’s funeral, the manager allegedly told her not to come back to work, screenshots of her text messages show.

“Someone close to my [sic] just passed away, and i’m trying to find a cover for my shifts so i can attend the funeral service rather than call out and leave you guys hanging,” the girl explained to her manager before sharing a link to an article about Sot’s death.

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The manager responded that she was “sick of all staff not taking their job seriously,” adding that she had “a business to run at the end of the day.”

“Oh wow thanks,” the manager wrote, according to the texts. “Just don’t come back to work.”

After the girl’s texts went viral, Cafe 72’s owner posted an apology to the restaurant’s now-deleted Facebook page and donated $1,000 to a fundraiser for Sot, according to NJ.com.

The owner identified himself as the husband of the manager, and maintained the employee wasn’t actually fired.

“Her last shifts were this weekend before leaving for holiday break to be with her friends and family until January 28th,” he wrote. “This private conversation was not related in any way to the mourning of Michael.”

“Although this interaction was displayed completely out of context by a friend of the employee and drastically misrepresents [the manager] and our establishment, we recognize that there is NOTHING that excuses it,” he added. “We carelessly let the stresses of family and business replace the professionalism, respect and empathy that every employee and person deserves.”

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The restaurant has been receiving “hate emails, bad reviews and threatening phone calls,” the owner added.

Sot was acting as a designated driver for other students on the night of the crash, his father previously told News 4.

The driver of the other car involved in the crash reportedly crossed into the oncoming lane and hit Sot’s car. He was allegedly impaired at the time and faces a vehicular homicide charge.

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