A burger restaurant in Illinois is taking heat because of a pro-Marines bomber sticker the shop displays above its order window.
The controversy started when Sam Schnelle posted a photo of the sticker on Facebook. She said she asked the managers to take the sticker down, which they refused, Yahoo Lifestyle reported.
The sticker reads “If you can’t read this, thank a Marine.” Next to “this” was Arabic writing. Initials for the U.S. Marine Corp are also displayed.
“The bumper sticker has been in my restaurant for more than a decade from a Marine that served in Iraq. He brought it in and asked me to put it up, and I said sure go ahead and put it up and it’s been there for all these years,” the restaurant’s owner, Brad Gross, told WCIA.
It appears that Schnelle’s posts complaining about the stickers have been removed, but posts in support of the establishments are abundant on the unofficial Facebook page for Gross’ Burgers.
The result of the controversy is that the restaurant has had a surge in business.
“I’d like to thank the idiot that complained for letting me know about this place. I’ll be traveling through Danville occasionally this summer, and I will make it a point to stop and eat there every time!” said Mike Sapp, in a comment to a post on the Facebook page.
“Great to see a business supporting America, most would have removed the Marine sticker but not Gross’s ! When I’m in Danville next I’m going to eat there!” Barry Brown said in a Facebook post with a Gross’ Burgers check-in.
“Pleased to see the turnout and the racial diversity in the room supporting this long good standing business while waiting for my order tonight. It’s so busy they could hire a second cook and add on to the building,” Mark McKinzie wrote in a Facebook post with a Gross’ Burgers check-in.
A Facebook search for the name of the complainer given in news articles links to a person who writes on their Facebook profile that they are a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The page says Schnelle lives in Danville, Illinois, the same city as the restaurant.
There are no posts related to Gross’ Burgers on Schnelle’s page, and no way to comment on any of the other posts. If this particular Sam Schnelle from Danville is the one that started the controversy, it appears that Schnelle has backed discontinued involvement, at least via social media. Tweets that Fox News reported on as being in support of Schnelle’s stance, have also since been taken down.
It appears the initial protesting, as begun via social media, has backfired and had the opposite effect.
American Legion Riders from Danville Post 210 showed up at Gross’ Burgers this afternoon to show support for Marine Brad…
“American Legion Riders from Danville Post 210 showed up at Gross’ Burgers this afternoon to show support for Marine Brad Gross’ business when a lone protester held a sign written in Arabic against Gross’ right to freedom and opinions,” wrote Pam Carrell Nichols, who checked-in to Gross’ Burgers with nine other people, in a Facebook post. “The lone protester had a Vermilion County Sheriff’s Deputy drive her across Henderson Ave, south lot across from restaurant. She certainly has a right to protest whatever she wants in the U.S. and others have a right to show support of the U.S. and Gross. If she was in an Arabic country doing the same in her tank top and blond hair, she would be stoned to death. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Gross‘ Burgers’ business has increased so much with the free publicity that Brad had to close for the day when he ran out of hamburger. Will regroup and be open again in the morning. Thank a Veteran for our rights as U.S. citizens.”
Gross is a marine and employs marines who work at the establishment, Fox News reported. He comes from a family with a history of military participation. He says the sticker is one of many patriotic items displayed at the restaurant.