Video filmed on Sunday and going viral in the ensuing days shows an employee of Kampgrounds of America Inc. in Starkville, Mississippi telling a couple to leave the premises. But that wasn’t all — the employee, an older woman who could be seen wearing a yellow work-related shirt, pulled out a gun.
According to WCBI, the incident occurred at Oktibbeha County Lake and the employee was rejecting the couple because they didn’t have a reservation. The married couple Jessica, 26, and Franklin Richardson, 28, was under the impression that they didn’t need a reservation because that’s what the front desk told them.
Whatever the case may be, the campground business immediately sent out a statement suggesting that the gun-toting response over Memorial Day Weekend by this employee was not in keeping with the company’s “welcoming” environment expectations. Franklin Richardson is a military sergeant.
“KOA Inc. is aware of the situation that occurred Sunday, May 26th at the KOA franchise in Starkville, Mississippi. KOA is currently looking into the matter and reaching out to all of the parties involved. Kampgrounds of America prides itself on providing a welcoming, safe environment for everyone to enjoy the outdoors,” a statement said.
Not only that, the employee was identified as a property manager Ruby Howell (she was fired).
“Kampgrounds of America does not condone the use of a firearm in any manner on our properties or those owned and operated by our franchisees. The employee involved in the incident has been relieved of her duties at the Starkville KOA,” the company announced.
Some people reacting to the news online called the employee rude, while others called for/expected her firing. Still others said it was a racist and discriminatory act, given that the couple affected was black.
Jessica Richardson certainly interpreted as racist.
“Racism is alive and well!!” she said on social media. “Today was a beautiful day so my husband (who’s a vet), our 2-year-old dog, and myself, decided to Google a lake to visit and have a picnic. We found a lake located in starkville and decided to visit. Not five mins later a truck pulls up and a white lady screams at us, she then jumps out of her truck with a Gun. And proceeded to point it at the 3 of us, simply because we didn’t make reservations…”
“Well I’m just telling you, you need to leave,” Howell was quoted at the scene. The couple also said she yelled, “Git! Git!”
They said they felt like they were being treated like “stray dogs on her porch.”
[Image via Facebook screengrab]