Favorite

Waitress woes 

John McCain visited Little Rock last Friday. He was greeted on arrival about 10:30 a.m. at Central Flying Service by former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

He was also greeted by Micah Qualls, 29, a waitress for seven years at Central's Flight Deck restaurant who's completing work to teach school. Writes Qualls:

“In the heat of the moment, I remembered that I had my Hillary for President sign in the car, and spent my break time holding my sign outside the fence where the senator was landing his airplane.”

From behind the chain link fence along the flight line, Qualls occasionally called out for attention as McCain deplaned and left in a motorcade.

About 2 p.m., after Qualls had worked the lunch shift, the restaurant manager fired her for the “embarrassment.” She said she believed the firing — coming hours after her demonstration, rather than immediately — was prompted by a complaint to Central Flying management instigated by Huckabee.

I wrote about this Friday evening on the Arkansas Blog. (http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2008/04/the_lone_protest.aspx)

It spurred remarkable interest, some 150 reader comments by Sunday.

Even more remarkably, it spurred a telephone call to me from Mike Huckabee, who stopped communicating with the Arkansas Times many months ago. He said — cordially, I should add — that he had no involvement in Qualls' firing and that he had not even seen her, because of the particular place where McCain's plane parked.

Dick Holbert, the owner of Central Flying, later backed the governor. He said he had decided to fire Qualls because an employee, in uniform, had been disrespectful to a customer. He insisted Huckabee played no role, either directly or through an intermediary.

Qualls and two friends are just as insistent, however, that they've talked with a man who had a phone conversation with Huckabee Friday (in the presence of one of the three) in which Huckabee acknowledged seeing Qualls and said that someone in his camp had complained. That man won't talk publicly, they say. They also named a Central Flying worker who reportedly overheard Huckabee indicating to Holbert's son Taylor during McCain's arrival that he recognized Qualls as a restaurant employee. That employee did not return my call.

My thoughts? Qualls strikes me as honest, if impetuous. Holbert was well within his rights to fire her, but the delayed reaction (Holbert lunched in the restaurant Friday without making a comment, Qualls says) does lend a bit of weight to the theory that the action came in response to external pressure. A paying Central customer would have room to complain, I'd stipulate.

I think Huckabee is telling the truth when he says he didn't complain personally to Holbert. But I think he might have improved the story a bit too much by disclaiming any knowledge of Qualls' presence. TV footage puts her within view of McCain's plane.

On a larger issue, I think Huckabee's quick effort to clear the record — even if it meant calling me, of all people — might indicate that the campaign to get Huckabee on John McCain's ticket is very serious.

Finally, this: After a weekend in which Qualls' firing drew a bare scattering of local media attention, I pondered the press reaction if a waitress had been fired for waving an Obama sign at a Hillary plane. Never mind that the waitress said she thought Bill had something to do with it.

 

n CORRECTION: Make it $75 to $100 billion, not million as I wrote last week, in expected investment in the Fayetteville shale.

 

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Mr. Gianforte, a question? Mr. Gianforte?

    Politico says howdy to the Bruiser from Bozeman, Greg Gianforte. They'll have questions for the new congressman, who faces assault charges because he wasn't happy about a reporter's inquiries.
    • May 27, 2017
  • Abuse continues at Alexander juvenile center

    David Ramsey, writing for the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, reports on the firing of a guard for choking a child at the Alexander Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center, a lockup for juvenile offenders.
    • May 27, 2017
  • A new Trump on Twitter?

    Has a calmer — or edited — Donald Trump emerged on Twitter?
    • May 27, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015
  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
    • May 25, 2017
  • You want tort reform? Try this.

    The nursing home industry and the chamber of commerce finally defeated the trial lawyers in the 2017 legislature. The Republican-dominated body approved a constitutional amendment for voters in 2018 that they'll depict as close to motherhood in goodness.
    • May 18, 2017
  • French Hill's photo op

    The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a health care bill that only the blind, dumb or dishonest could call good for any but the wealthy. For its many flaws, it has been hailed as a ticket to congressional gains for the Democratic Party.
    • May 11, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Not leaders

    As soon as I saw the Notre Dame graduates walking out of their own commencement ceremony as Vice President Mike Pence began to speak, I thought, "Oh no, here we go again."

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • .... and having a beer with Gene Lyons, who gave the cutest clumsy curtsy before…

    • on May 27, 2017
  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • Are you saying Karl Marx has left the building? The New York Times denies it…

    • on May 27, 2017
  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • Yes, Lyon's thinks it is Fox Network that promotes the lies that the West has…

    • on May 26, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation