Marcus Bradley, a delivery driver for Lowe’s Home Improvement in Danville, Va., was making a routine delivery last week when, he said, he received a call from a manager asking him to return the shipment to work.
“I asked him why I couldn’t do it, and he said because you’re black and they don’t want you at the house,” Bradley told ABC affiliate WSET.
Bradley said his manager told him the customer gave the company specific instructions not to send a black employee to the home. When Bradley returned to the store, he was replaced by a white driver, WSET reported.
Bradley, an 11-year veteran of the company, said he was shocked, and so was fellow deliveryman Alex Brooks, who has worked with Bradley for years and was sitting next to him in the delivery truck when the manager called.
“To me, it just ain’t right for a business that we work at to go on with the woman’s wishes,” Brooks told WSET.
Brooks, who is white, told the station he refused to get back in the truck and complete the delivery without his longtime partner.
“It was one of those things like, ‘These guys will get over it,'” Brooks said. “They’re tough guys, they’re delivery guys and that’s kind of where I just had to put my foot down and say I couldn’t do it with them.”
Bradley told WSET that he didn’t expect his employer to accept the customer’s demand.
“I mean, I thought that Lowe’s would take up for me,” he said.
Chris Ahearn, a Lowe’s spokeswoman, told The Washington Post that the manager involved in the incident has been fired and that the company wants its drivers to know that “we back them completely.”
“We’ve reached out to the drivers and one of our senior executives went to the store to apologize to them in person,” she said. “We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and we should never have accepted the terms of the sale with the individuals who were delivered to.”
Lowe’s corporate office issued a statement condemning the decision to remove Bradley from the delivery:
Diversity and inclusion is a core value at Lowe’s. The situation brought to our attention was troubling and an investigation was immediately undertaken. Under no circumstances should a discriminatory delivery request be honored as it is inconsistent with our diversity and inclusion core values and the request should have been refused. The investigation has concluded and the individuals involved are no longer with company.
A WSET reporter confronted the homeowner who instructed Lowe’s not to send a black employee to her home. Asked to explain her side of the story, she adamantly defended her actions.
“I got a right to have whatever I want and that’s it,” she said.
The woman, who declined to be identified by WSET, added that she had no regrets after making a white-driver-only request. “No, I don’t feel bad about nothing,” she said.
Though he’s troubled by the incident, Bradley told WSET that he plans to keep working.
“I mean, I gotta work,” he said. “I’m going to keep going to work like I’ve always done. But I would think Lowe’s would take it into consideration to think about what they’re doing next time.”