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

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Ad man Heathcott sues CJRW for damages in ouster

    Gary Heathcott the long-time ad and PR man who now lives in San Antonio has sued CJRW, the major ad and PR firm, over its severing of a consulting deal with him last year and asks $1.3 million in actual damages plus unspecified punitive damages.
    • Dec 18, 2018
  • Court dismisses ethics complaints against Kavanaugh

    The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed numerous judicial ethics complaints against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh because the law exempts Supreme Court members, even for acts committed as a judge covered by the law. In short: Bart O'Kavanaugh is above the law.
    • Dec 18, 2018
  • In face of blowback, state will slow down assisted living cuts

    Brett Rains of 40/29 is tweeting from the Capitol that the Department of Human Services is slowing its push for cuts in reimbursements for home health aides that critics have said could force many people into more expensive nursing home and force companies that provide the services out of business.
    • Dec 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Hope and change LR

    While I was away, Frank Scott Jr. won a historic victory in a runoff with Baker Kurrus to succeed Mark Stodola as Little Rock mayor.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • A real mayor

    Baker Kurrus is trying to brand himself as an agent for change as mayor of Little Rock, but labors under a handicap.
    • Nov 22, 2018
  • How red are we?

    Election results in Arkansas were discouraging for Democrats and progressive voters.
    • Nov 15, 2018
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: No leash

    • I used to believe I wasn't a cat person, till I had my first cat…

    • on December 18, 2018
  • Re: No leash

    • I once had a cat -- Earl was his name -- who loved to ride…

    • on December 17, 2018
  • Re: Beware of 'unity'

    • I like this opinion piece of yours published on my 71st birthday. My best friend…

    • on December 17, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation