While dining at a Lethbridge Denny’s recently, Kelly Pocha overheard the party in the booth behind her speaking in their native language. This was enough to provoke her as she assumed they were making fun of her.
The shocking video shows Pocha’s anger-fueled rant, where she frequently repeats that she’s a “Canadian woman” and orders the other patrons to “Go back to your fucking country.”
Her violent rant was captured by one of the men, who frequently insisted that they, too, were Canadian.
According to Pocha, the incident started as many romance stories do. In her statement, she claims, “It started with a look.” She goes on to further explain that she “turned around and looked at the one gentleman and he was staring at me. And I said is there a problem? And he said, ‘no, no problem.”
It could have ended there, but the belligerent woman continued, claiming she was still being stared at. “And that’s basically when things started to get said. I normally don’t get angry, I have to get provoked.”
In her statement to Lethbridge News Now, Pocha claims only one side of the story is being seen. “You don’t see the whole video, you don’t see what was said to me, things like that.”
Monir Omerzai and Mujtaba Abdul Ghafar spoke with @CTVLethbridge today about their experience during a racist encounter at Denny's, and the support they've received from the community after sharing a video of it. Full story tonight at 5. #yql #Lethbridge pic.twitter.com/tv62DNSyzr
— Zayn Jinah (@CTVZayn) May 9, 2018
After the exchange went viral, Cranbrook Dodge, Pocha’s employer, released a statement revealing that Pocha had been fired. “We are deeply concerned about the content of this video and want all of our friends, families, colleagues, and customers to know that this behaviour does not reflect the values of Cranbrook Dodge in any way,” the statement says.
As pointed out by some viewers, Pocha didn’t have the support of other Denny’s patrons. Heard faintly in the background is another customer, calling out Pocha and her blatant racism. “He belongs in Canada just as much as you,” the anonymous woman can be heard yelling.
My latest information is that the lady featured in the video is not from #Lethbridge or #Alberta. I am embarrassed that the incident took place in our city and will unreservedly apologize to those who were subjected to this racist tirade #yql
— Chris Spearman (@Spearmac) May 9, 2018
— Cranbrook Dodge (@Cranbrook_Dodge) May 9, 2018
Shoutout to the other woman (from a different table) also heard on the video: “Bitch, he belongs in Canada just as much as you, shut the fuck up.” #kellypocha
— Shella (@allthewayshella) May 9, 2018
Pocha told Lethridge News Now that she was having an “off” day and that her rant was “not who I am.” Of course, her disbelief in her own actions comes after the video was shared more than 1 million times on Facebook and her 11-year employment came to a swift end.
Lethbridge Police Service media release: pic.twitter.com/MrOUYTX1YY
— Lethbridge Police (@lethpolice) May 9, 2018
Lethbridge police were called to the scene, but the incident had been taken care of by Denny’s staff prior to arrival. Rumors circulated that the police advised only escorted one group out of the restaurant, but the department assures that never happened. “Any information being circulated on social media suggesting that the police advised only one group to leave an escorted them out of the restaurant is false,” the Lethbridge police department said in a public statement.
Despite Pocha’s hopes to sweep this under the rug and write it off as a bad day, even the city’s mayor, Chris Spearman, stepped forward, calling the incident “embarrassing” and racist.
There is a post on Facebook featuring a racist incident which occurred in our city.I am embarrassed to learn that this incident happened in Lethbridge. We are working hard to address racism and bigotry but can not prevent ignorance and the hostile behaviour of individuals. #yql
— Chris Spearman (@Spearmac) May 9, 2018
She’s not without her supporters, however, as one Twitter user took the opportunity to explain what the men she confronted could do to right the situation.
I offer these three gentlemen an opportunity for greatness.
Step 1) Together, and without asking Kelly Pocha, visit her Dodge dealer former employer and ask if they wd consider giving Kelly her job back. They understand that she is a hard working mother of 3,
— Kev (@KevinLeeMorris) May 10, 2018
Oh dear .. the guy #bigotsplaining for #kellypocha thinks anyone disagreeing w him must be a #hater & a #liberal ? he also thought the men “ appeared #muslim “ ? #thesecret is strong in this one pic.twitter.com/BpPtdHJuY1
— Kara (@KaraArdan) May 10, 2018