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Woman’s Facebook post accuses restaurant of denying service to homeless man

DENVER -- A Denver woman’s Facebook post is going viral after she said a local restaurant refused to serve a homeless customer.

Vanessa Varona was eating dinner at Taqueria Mexico on West Colfax Avenue on Thursday night when a homeless man came inside looking for a hot meal.

“I told him get whatever you want. I’ll pay for it,” Varona said.

After the man ordered, another customer asked him to sit down at his booth so the two could eat together, but the restaurant wouldn’t allow it.

“Here comes a waitress and basically stood him up and said no you can’t sit down here,” Varona said. “How do you treat people like that?”

Varona posted her experience on Facebook where it was shared more than 6,000 times by Monday evening.

“That actually wasn’t the case,” said Taqueria Mexico staff member Adiel Estrada. “It wasn’t so much we kicked him out because he was homeless. He was drunk. He had been drinking so we asked him politely to leave.”

Estrada showed security footage from the incident. It showed the homeless man walking into the restaurant and hovering over a table of leftovers. He also approached a man sitting at a booth.

While the restaurant maintains the man was too drunk to be there, it does have a policy regarding the homeless.

“The owner’s policy is we can’t have homeless people coming in to disrupt customers that are enjoying their meals,” Estrada said.

He said since the man was hovering over tables, it was within the restaurant’s right to refuse him service and ask him to leave. However, Estrada admitted the waitress went too far in asking him to leave after customers invited him to join their tables.

“When [Varona] had him sit down, at that point there really wasn’t much of a problem. We kind of should have just left it alone at a certain point,” Estrada said.

Varona said that would have solved the issue.

“They shouldn’t feel like garbage. If he goes in to eat and people want him to sit, let him feel normal,” Varona said.