Saturday afternoon, author Lisa Renee Johnson had expected to have the time of her life on the Napa Valley Wine Train-an event she and her book crew had been planing since last November.
Johnson chronicled the day by posting images to her Facebook page from the train with her book club, including 10 African American women and one white woman.
However, things took a sour turn as they were riding towards St. Helena, when the maître d’hotel confronted them about ‘being too loud’ and threatened them off the train. In an article on the Napa Valley Register, Johnson said the maître d’hotel made the decision because ‘people’s faces looked uncomfortable”
“She said people were complaining and I said, ‘Who’s complaining?’ And she said, ‘Well, people’s faces are uncomfortable,’” said Johnson. “At that point, one passenger nearby said, ‘Well, this is not a bar.’ We reacted, ‘Yes, it is a bar, a bar on wheels.'”
The women were ultimately kicked off, but not before being escorted through 6 train cars to where they were met by officers, including one 80 year old woman and another woman who used a cane due to hip replacement surgery.
We were paraded; 10 African-American women and one white woman, being paraded through the cars with four police officers outside.”–via North Valley Register
The women received a full refund of their trip, although it’s unlikely that they will use it after the humiliation and poor treatment they received on their first ride. The crew are still weighing out whether or not they will go forward with a lawsuit or a civil rights complaint.
The police left within minutes of the women getting off the train, and they were given a bus shuttle back to Napa. Shortly after the incident, the Napa Velley Wine Train posted their side of the story to social media which they later deleted–there were no accounts of any physical abuse towards any staff or guests.
Social media quickly caught onto the story, which hasn’t been good for the company’s Yelp reviews: