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Allison Brown got more than just a sandwich and a couple of flatbread pizzas on a recent trip to Subway. The 45-year-old California woman said when she got home enjoy her lunch, she found a hurtful message scribbled on the box: Big Mama.

“I just broke down crying. I couldn’t eat it. I kept thinking, ‘Big Mama’ doesn’t need to eat. It started really messing with me. I started thinking, ‘Maybe I need surgery. Do I really look that bad? What’s wrong with me?'”

After noticing the remark, Brown contacted the store’s owner who confronted the employee.

“The owner said the employee didn’t know better, that he just didn’t get it,” Brown told The NY Daily News. “He begged me not to go to the media, so I tried to work with him, but then nobody was calling me back. It’s not right. This really hurt me.”

The Subway owner said he terminated the employee, but Brown took her grievance to the food chain’s corporate office. Brown felt her issue was getting ignored, so she hired a lawyer who sent a letter to Subway’s corporate office demanding sensitivity training for every employee.

In light of the incident, Subway offered Brown $5,000, but she turned the company down.


“This isn’t about money,” she explained. “This breaks my heart. Here Subway promotes itself as a place for people who need help eating better, then this happens. What if the wrong person got a box like mine? What if they saw that and tried to commit suicide?”

Her lawyer, Daniel Gilleon agrees: “They need to make sure all employees take training. And it’s something they should have done already. It should be in their franchise agreements. If they can dictate how thinly the onions on the sandwiches are sliced, they can and should do this.”

Gilleon said he’s going to file a lawsuit against Subway if they don’t meet Brown’s demands.

Kevin Kane, a public relations manager for Subway, said in an email that although Subway has a zero tolerance for discrimination, the franchise owner makes all employment decisions.

“Both the Subway franchisor and local franchisee have a zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. The franchisee took immediate action to investigate and terminated the employee involved. All Subway restaurants are individually owned and operated and matters involving restaurant employees are handled on the local level.”

The company’s explanation isn’t good enough for Brown, however.

“I’m never going to eat at another Subway again. They don’t deserve my money.”

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  • Mary Burrell

    This is “WTF” news, Seriously?

  • Olayinka Kazeem

    Ohh boo hooo

    • princessdi81

      Yup, until something like that happens to you. You would be the first one coming here to Clutch to complain about it and then get up in arms if someone says “boo hoo”.

    • Olayinka Kazeem

      Not even

  • AfroStyling

    He didn’t know better? Does he have a developmental problem? I would have taken the money though.

    • Anthony

      I suspect Ms. brown will end up with a lot more than $5,000.

  • fujoshifanatic

    As a certified obese woman, I call bullshit on this money-grubbing woman and say she needs to take a seat. She was given an apology and offered MUCH more than she deserved for what I consider nothing in terms of the kinds of insults that have been thrown at fat people (myself included) in my experience. But if her lawyer thinks he can get more money for himself with her whining–and she allows it–more power to him. I am sick of the litigious society we live in. Smdh.

    • mbeezy

      I agree and disagree. I don’t think you can weigh insults -those are completely personal in terms of how they affect a person. Some guy called me ‘big drawers’ in the mall and I was crushed. I couldn’t believe that someone felt they had the right to say something like that. OUt loud. To a stranger.

      Someone else may have laughed it off. It hurt me deeply.

      That said, I think $5000 is quite suitable. More than suitable. But I would also like assurances that the staff will be trained to right the name of the customer or their order number – and that is ALL.

    • Breds

      Well it doesnt appear that she is asking from money, simply more
      training and education for Subway employees. I think that is entirely
      reasonable and an upstanding thing to do so hopefully other people dont
      face similar insults in the future. Its your job as a employee in the
      service industry to provide the customer with the appropriate service.
      Not insult them and visit your pathetic micro-agressions on them. I’m
      not even fat but I’m aware of the way that overweight/obese people are
      subtly and not so subtly insulted and dehumanized in society. Its simply
      not appropriate to do that to anyone! Have we gone beyond the age where
      people were raised with politeness and courtesy.