From feces-smeared notebook pages to lengthy, typed letters, Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson got a wide range of hate mail after she “politely” asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her restaurant last June.
But with each onslaught of criticism — including a tweet from President Trump — Wilkinson received equal praise for her decision, which she said was fueled by a disagreement with the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the time, she wrote in a new Washington Post op-ed Tuesday. She didn’t expect her decision to boot a member of the Trump administration to go viral. And while she received more than 4,000 letters calling her a “racist, a bigot and a hypocrite,” the decision has proven to actually help her business.
“When we opened after a 10-day hiatus, our dining room was full. In the following weeks, people who had never been to the Shenandoah Valley traveled out of their way to eat with us. Hundreds of orders for our Red Hen spice blend poured in. And the love spread far beyond our door, as supporters sent thousands of dollars’ in donations in our honor to our local food pantry, our domestic violence shelter and first responders.
“After nearly a year, I’m happy to say that business is still good. Better than good, actually. And besides the boost to our area charities, our town’s hospitality and sales revenue have gone up, too.
“Our haters may have believed that there were more of “them” than of “us,” but it turns out we have more than enough to keep us cooking. And to everyone who might be fearful about taking a stand, I say don’t be. Resistance is not futile, for you or your business.”
Read the full op-ed here.