April 1, 2020 at 2:05 AM EDT – Updated April 1 at 2:05 AM
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH/CNN) – A doctor who works with cancer patients says he was berated and kicked out of an Indiana gas station by an employee using the coronavirus to discriminate against Asians.
David, who only wanted to be identified by his first name, stopped Friday at a Marathon gas station in Martinsville, Indiana, for gas and a cup of coffee. But he says when he went inside, the clerk yelled at him, asking if he was Chinese, and told him to leave.
David says the man continued yelling, so he eventually told him he is of Korean descent but was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and hadn’t traveled out of the country for years.
“He was very angry and told me to get out. I wasn’t allowed to buy anything there, not allowed to use the bathroom there. ‘Never come back. Don’t ever come back.’ In a very violent and hateful way,” David said.
David is a doctor and works with cancer patients, who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. He used to stop at the gas station often while traveling in and out of Indianapolis, but now, he won’t be going back.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” David said. “Part of me is hurt and angry and saddened that people can actually behave that way to another.”
Martinsville Police Chief Kurt Spivey says the department was told about the situation last week, and the business has been advised that discrimination is inappropriate.
“Exactly what I was told was anyone of Chinese descent is not allowed in the store, and it was directly related to the spread of the coronavirus,” Spivey said.
The Morgan County prosecutor says anyone experiencing this type of discrimination should contact authorities. While there are no hate crime laws on the books in Indiana, a person who commits a crime motivated by prejudice or bias could face stiffer penalties.
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