Pub barback quits after co-owner writes ‘I can’t breathe’ on chicken wing order

PALMETTO BAY, Fla. (WSVN) — A barback at a pub in Palmetto Bay said he quit his job after the restaurant’s co-owner typed “I can’t breathe” on the ticket for an order of blackened chicken wings.

Brandon Gonzalez spoke to 7News on Monday about what he said was intended as a joke. To him, however, this is no laughing matter.

The former employee said he was working at Hole in the Wall Pub Saturday night when he noticed the strange custom title in red ink on the order ticket.

“I was just in awe,” he said. “I was kind of just baffled. I couldn’t believe [it].”

The order was supposed to say “10 blackened chicken wings.” Instead, it said, “I can’t breathe.”

The sentence is a reference to the words said by George Floyd while a Minnesota Police officer placed his knee on his neck during an apprehension.

Floyd’s resulting death on May 25 continues to spark outrage and protests worldwide.

“When I delivered the food, I looked at the ticket and I was like, ‘Damn, he actually wrote that on the ticket,'” said Gonzalez.

The tickets at Hole in the Wall are typically only seen by employees. Gonzalez said this particular custom title was authored by one of the restaurant’s co-owners, who he only knew as “Sam.”

The barback said his boss at the time also walked into the kitchen and asked staff members if they had seen his joke.

Gonzalez was not laughing. He quit the next day and posted a picture of the ticket on social media.

“I posted it Sunday morning as soon as I woke up,” he said.

His tweet reads, “Yesterday I was at work, and my boss, Hole in the Wall co-founder Sam, thought it’d be funny to change the ‘Blackened’ wings to ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ Attention, Miami locals, do not support this disgusting establishment. I quit today. #BlackLivesMatter”

“I was like, people need to know about this. This isn’t just, like, a minor joke,” said Gonzalez.

Monday night, the pub’s management issued a statement on the matter, addressing co-owner Sam Diedrick. It reads, “The management of “Hole in the Wall Pub” is disgusted about what occurred. We apologize to our customers and employees. It is reprehensible and goes completely against our values. We have taken immediate action by suspending Mr. Diedrick. We will be engaging directly with each of our employees to listen to their concerns and explain to them the steps we are taking to ensure this never occurs again.”

Even in a bad job market, Gonzalez said he has already moved on.

“I’d honestly rather be unemployed than get money from someone like that,” he said.

Although the restaurant is closed on Tuesday, some employees could be seen going in and out of the establishment. However, none of them wanted to speak on camera.

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