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Corbin Whisper

Claim:   Servicemen refused service at a Sak-N-Pak gas station in Corbin, Kentucky.

FALSE

Origins:   The rise in appreciation of the military in recent years has served to foster a specific type of rumor: the shunned serviceman. Such whispers, which express patriotism through outrage at businesses which have supposedly refused service to members of the U.S. armed forces, call for boycotts of the offending restaurants, bars, gas stations, and other retail establishments.

These whispers are generally aimed at small businesses often owned or operated by brown-hued persons who by virtue of the color of their skin are assumed to be of Arab extraction. Previous targets of such outrage include a Marathon gas station in Pontiac, Illinois; a Dunkin' Donuts franchise in Crown Point, Indiana; restaurants in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Duluth, Minnesota; a Shell gas station in Tennessee; a Shady Maple restaurant in Pennsylvania; and a Charley's Grilled Subs outlet in Stockton, California.

While such tales of wrongs done to those who guard our freedoms do stir the blood, virtually all such reports we have encountered have proved to be either completely fabricated or highly distorted versions of real events. (One exception, however, had to do with a 2004 incident at a
convenience store in Fort Worth, Texas.)

In July 2011, yet another "shunned serviceman" rumor spread primarily through posts to the social media sites Facebook and Topix postings that two soldiers in uniform were refused service at a Sak-N-Pak convenience store in Corbin, Kentucky.

As is almost always the case (see sole exception above), there was nothing to the claim. The owner of the establishment, Danny Patel, is a U.S. citizen from India. Moreover, his daughter is in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Corbin High School, which makes laughable the claim that he would refuse service to those in the armed forces. As for the servicemen supposedly sent away, they failed to come forward and identify themselves.

Last updated:   27 July 2011

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Sources:

    Baker, Michele.   "Rumor Hurts Corbin Gas Station."
    The Times Tribune [Corbin, KY].   26 July 2011.

    WKDP-AM [Corbin, KY].   "Online Rumor Has Hurt Business for a Corbin Gas Station."
    26 July 2011.