Things you expect to find in the bathroom of a kitschy, Western-themed restaurant: prints of Charles M. Russell paintings, wagon wheel-shaped tissue dispensers, something about “wiping your boots.” Things you might not expect: a light-hearted sign referencing child slavery.
Restaurant customer Nikki Moss, who is herself the descendant of a slave, noticed this peculiar sign in the restroom of the Lone Spur Cafe in Durango, Colorado. According to a photo provided to The Durango Herald, it read: “Notice: Unattended & unruly children will be arrested & sold as slaves.” It’s a not-so-cute play on the sign you may have seen at coffeeshops: “Unattended and unruly children will be given an espresso and a puppy.”
The child-slavery sign struck a nerve with Moss, who told the restaurant manager it was upsetting and suggested it be replaced with another sign or piece of art. Weeks later, the sign remained in the bathroom, according to Moss’ Claire Raines, who visited the restaurant this week. Raines, bothered that the sign hadn’t been removed, wrote to the Herald about it.
As of today, the sign has been removed.
Lone Spur Cafe CEO Cory Farley told the Herald “our intent is never to be offensive or insensitive to anyone,” and said he intends to reach out to Moss to apologize.
Bizarrely, this isn’t the first time a bathroom sign from Durango, Colorado, has made headlines; last year, a pizzeria removed a restroom sign that depicted a stick-figure man lifting a woman’s skirt after critics said it trivialized sexual assault. Earlier this year, a country-dive bar in Fort Worth, Texas, agreed to remove a homemade sign emblazoned with a racial slur. Restaurant owners, think your decor through more carefully before nailing it to the wall, please?