By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
'Twas one Friday night in January last year when the owner of Miami's longest-running holiday festival failed miserably in his attempt to mack on a woman at a limo company.
Brian Shechtman, who along with his brother has operated Santa's Enchanted Forest since 1984, had dialed Aventura Limousine to order a stretch ride from his home in Hallandale Beach to Miami Beach. His call was handled by a customer service rep named Lashunda Wilson, who is African-American.
Shechtman, who is white, made what seemed like racially insensitive comments after she explained she couldn't offer any discounts. When Wilson told the Santa honcho that the firm's limos were all black, Shechtman apparently thought she'd enjoy a bizarre spiel on his favorite color.
Wilson provided Riptide with a copy of the recorded call, in which Shechtman says:
"Beautiful. That is my favorite color. My vehicle is black. My girlfriend is black. The outfit I am wearing tonight is gonna be black. I'm gonna pay with my black [American Express] card. I am having the black grouper for dinner, drinking Black Label [Johnny Walker Scotch whisky]. Ya feel me?"
"I felt degraded after he hung up," Wilson says, adding she complained to her bosses. "They told me they would let him know they did not want his business anymore. The things he said shouldn't be tolerated."
Latoya Tucker, a co-worker who is also African-American, complained as well after listening to the tape. "Why was everything black?" Tucker asks. "What was up with that?"
Wilson and Tucker, who say Aventura Limousine terminated them for unrelated reasons following the incident, claim their former employer continued to rent limos to Shechtman after they complained.
Jason Coupal, Aventura Limousine's general counsel, says the company does not comment on personnel decisions and could not disclose the names of its customers. However, Coupal acknowledges Wilson complained about a client making inappropriate comments. He insists Aventura Limousine swiftly cut ties with that customer.
"We agreed the client's behavior was inexcusable," Coupal says. "No other services have been provided to this client."
Via email, Shechtman admits it's his voice on the tape but says the whole incident was a misunderstanding. "I feel that my poor attempt at humor and flirtation was offensive," Shechtman says. "I did not intend my comments to be disrespectful, and for that I'm very sorry."
Apparently, nobody knows the real owner of Santa's Enchanted Forest. Here is a man who has sponsored and donated tens of thousands of dollars to underprivileged young black males to attend schools that have enabled them to finish their high school careers and attend universities where they have achieved, not only excellent grades but have made great strides to support their local communities and better their lives. He has done nothing but extend his prosperity to others in the community when they have needed it the most. Before you make judgment on someone's comments, please know the love, compassion, and his generosity of his character.
I am a past limo user and have been lied to and overcharged, if lasnda wilson ripped off people then got fired her excuse that it happens all the time is BS
lashundawilson, what was the occurence that happens everyday in the transpo industry that you were fired for?
I am the subject of the story your commenting on. First, This guy was not flirting with me. I dont know why the writer decided to write an opinion piece versus an article, but thats another issue. If you had heard the recording( As I was told it would be made available). You would see that after becoming ANGRY about a discount, is when he went into his Black tirade. How do you go from anger to flirting in a second? Contrary to popular belief, you dont have to say nigger to be a racist. And who says he has the right to tell me racist jokes? I am not his friend. He doesnt know me. We were conducting business. If I had went on the same tirade with a Jewish person, I guarantee nobody would defend me. Second who did he apologize to? It was not me. And he was still allowed to call the company as if this never happened. Also what Mr. Alvarado so conveniently neglected to inform you of is, Previously Aventura Limo told another customer not to ever call back for simply raising his voice at a Jewish employee, The exact words were "we dont tolerate disrespect of our employees". What they really menat, this incident shows me is 'we dont tolerate disrespect of our Jewish employees'. After the call between Bryan and I, myself and other employees complained about it, (All of were not Black, I should add), and I was told he would be told not to call back either. Was good enough for me. Instead I was fired for an occurence that happens everyday in the transpo industry.Related, I think so. Can I prove it? Of couse not. And I'm not out to. My goal since some wanted to know is to inform other people who believe in fair treatment of all people that The owner of Santa's enchanted forest and Aventura Limo love Black dollars but dont think they have to respect Black people. Him saying he apologized to me, or that he was flirting, and the company saying they responded in any way, Are those 'white lies?'Lashunda Wilson
and yet it must be said... this BIGOT is just racist!and somehow thinks that because he uses "fresh" words like biaches whatever the f#(< that is its tolerable... keep doing nothing wrong yourself there...
Jesse Jackson is en route to rectify this egregious injustice. (That means he'll be looking for a check)
Um ok first of all, I’m a black female. I don’t think this was them wanting their 15 minutes of fame (I could be wrong but whatever). Some guys who are not black who flirt with black females feel the need to continually throw out there that they like blacks; they overdo it. It’s almost as if they have to establish that ‘you’re black and I’m not so I have to prove that I’m ok with you being black by constantly pointing out that you are black.’ So after a while, yea it does becomes a little offensive. Would I have reported it? Yes. Would I go to the media? No; that also is overdoing it. People just need to be a bit more culturally aware of what they are saying and not be so uptight.
This woman needs to get a grip!! How absurd.. apparently her favorite color is not black! Its green for money and I am sure she will sue someone! PS who is she to release company recordings of callers...perhaps she needs to be sued!
OMG!He said "black"!!He said he likes the color "black"!!He gave examples of things that are "black"!!To ignore saying something about any other color ... this is just totally inexcusable!!;)
Seriously, in a city populated with hundreds of thousands of different cultures, nationalities, etc., you would think racist people would stop looking for racism in others.I would have fired those ignorant, racist employees too!To feel "degraded" because of THAT?????? How absurd!!! Grow up already!!!The ONLY part of that recording I found dumb was, "Ya feel me?", but it was certainly not worth dissing a client and thousands of dollars of his/her business over.
Cardinal rule of business..."The Customer is Always Right". Forget that and your out of business. Employees need to leave their attitudes at the door when dealing with the public if they want to stay employed.
it seems to me that someone was waiting for a positive response to perhaps hitch up . why is flirting news? this is a waste of ink but after all this isn't the new york times . and the booby that wrote this evidently doesn't have an editor that cares what garbage can be peddled as news.perhaps if there was a response like i like white limos or i kind of like macys white sale etc. then perhaps the conversation could have gotten at least saucy. wow no wonder this rag is dedicated to promoting nude bars and other seedy things
Does anyone else feel they were just desperate for some story? He was wrong, he apologized, done deal.
FIRST OF ALL THE LIMO COMPANNY SHOULD NOT HAVE FIRE THE LADYS AT ALL SECOND THEY GIRLS SHOULD GET THERE JOBS BACK IF NOT GET A GOOD LAWYER AND FILE A SUE TO THE LIMO COMPANNY AND THE GUY FROM THE SANTA PARK AND HE SHOULD SAY HE IS SORRY FOR WHAT HE DID ,AND MAYBE HE SHOULD TAKE SOME MANNER TARINING IT LOOKS TO ME HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER COLORS I WONDER WHAT ELSE HE DOSENT LIKE AND WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE HE DOSENT LIKE MAYBE PEOPLE SHOULD VOYCUT THE PARK NEXT YEAR SEE HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THAT ONE PEOPLE LIKE THAT THE COUNTY SHOULD NOT LEASE THE PARK TO HIM AT ALL
really? they should sue? for what? they both admitted they were fired for UNRELATED incidents. It's lawsuit people like you that make this world such a great place!!!
Pacheco your comments don't make sense. Are your thoughts well organized in your head before you write.