Coronavirus: Indiana gas station owner apologizes after clerk kicks out doctor for being Asian

Coronavirus: Indiana gas station owner apologizes after clerk kicks out doctor for being Asian
An Indiana doctor said he was accosted by a gas station clerk because he was of Asian descent. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — An Indiana doctor who works with cancer patients said he was verbally abused before being kicked out of a gas station Friday by an employee, who asked if he was of Asian descent and told him to leave.

The gas station owner called WISH-TV on Wednesday to offer an apology and said the clerk has been fired.

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The customer, who asked only to be identified by David, said he stopped at a Marathon station in Martinsville, Indiana, for a cup of coffee and gasoline, WISH-TV reported.

David said he was accosted by the clerk, who accused him of being Chinese and kicked him out of the store, the television station reported.

David said he tried to explain he was of Korean descent, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and had not traveled out of the country for years, it was not enough for the clerk.

“He was very angry and told me to get out," David told WISH. “I wasn’t allowed to buy anything there, not allowed to use the bathroom there. ‘Never come back. Don’t ever come back, (he said), in a very violent and hateful way.”

David said he usually stopped at the station on his way to Indianapolis, but he will not return there.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” David told WISH. "Part of me is hurt and angry and saddened that people can actually behave that way to another.”

The owner of the gas station, who is of Indian descent, told the television station he was sorry the incident occurred and wants to correct the mistake.

The owner said that if social distancing allowed it, he would like to speak to the man who was targeted, WISH reported. The owner said that, being Indian, he is also an immigrant from Asia.

Martinsville Police Chief Kurt Spivey told WISH his department was told about the situation last week, and the business has been advised that discrimination is inappropriate.

"Exactly what I was told was, anyone of Chinese descent is not allowed in the store, and it was directly related to the spread of the coronavirus,” Spivey said.

The Morgan County prosecutor said anyone experiencing discrimination should contact authorities.