On 17 May 2016, Facebook user Robert Horsley shamefully contributed to the canon of “shunned serviceman” tales (i.e., accounts of Muslim gas station or convenience store proprietors supposedly denying service to U.S. military personnel) when the claimed that the “Muslim” manager of Coosa Mart on Highway 31 in Pelham, Alabama, refused to allow him to use the business’ restroom:
But as it turned out, the Coosa Mart manager, Satyam Patel, isn’t Muslim, and the issue with bathrooms had nothing to do with Horsley’s veteran status (which Horsley failed to explain how the manager would have been able to discern):
An Alabama veteran who claimed he was denied access to a Pelham gas station’s restroom by the manager, who he identified as Muslim, has now apologized.
The apology comes days after Satyam Patel, the owner of the Coosa Mart on Highway 31 in Pelham denied the Horsley’s allegations.
“I am the manager of Coosa Mart,” he wrote on Facebook. “The message (Horsley’s message) posted below is not true. This event never happened. We have been in business for 10 years. We treat all customers with respect, and we are proud of the Veterans who have served our country. We have never told any customers to ‘get lost.’ We are not Muslim. Everyone is welcome in our store.”
Patel [said] that he immigrated to Alabama from India in 1992 and he became a naturalized citizen.
His attorney [said] that the gas station’s bathroom is reserved for employees only.
Horsley’s apology read as follows:
To Mr. Satyam Patel, owner of the Coosa Mart on Hwy 31, Pelham, Al.
I sincerely offer my apology to you for posting on Facebook that you denied me access to your restroom facility because I thought you to be a person of the Muslim Faith and due to the fact that I am a Veteran.
I also apologize to all that read and shared my post. For misleading you in such a manner.
As for those that choose not to patronize Mr. Patel’s business, I urge you to reconsider as I hope he will allow me to be his customer in the future.
Despite having acknowledged he was wrong and publishing an apology, Mr. Horsley has still not seen fit to delete the original misleading Facebook post that started the whole controversy.
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