CBS News reports that Nguyen received a text on Sunday informing him that his restaurant had been spray-painted with messages that read, “Go back 2 China,” “Ramen Noodle Flu,” “No masks, “Kung Flu,” “Commie,” and “Hope U Die.” The attacks come less than a week after Nguyen appeared on CNN to call Texas Gov. Greg Abbot’s lifting of the mandate “selfish and cowardly,” accusing the GOP politician of prioritizing profit over public safety.
He added, “Dropping the mask mandate will not help the economy, will not help us open. And a lot of us feel he’s putting… us in danger.” Nguyen is currently battling lymphoma and previously lost a loved one to COVID-19.
When he went to start cleaning off the messages, he said a customer had offered to help. “I had a bucket in my hand with soap and water, and I was gonna scrub it. She goes out, she comes outside and asked me, ‘Hey, can I help you? I’d love yo help you,’” Nguyen told CBS News. “Thirty minutes later, people just started showing up, and we had about little over like two dozen people just helping out. And they’re complete strangers.”
In addition to the outpouring of support, Nguyen said that he completely sold out on Sunday. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg offered his support, too, while a local mayoral candidate spent $1,000 at the restaurant to give food to the community. “The thing is, this restaurant is not just a normal restaurant, it’s a community restaurant,” he added. “I think that’s why everyone was so resilient to stand up to it. and show everyone that we’re not gonna put up with this ignorance, that we’re not going to put up with this racism, with this hate.”
My San Antonio reporter Maddy Skye added on Twitter that Nguyen has since had received messages of support, with locals leaving notes on the door.
Last week, President Joe Biden condemend the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s wrong. It’s un-American," he said. "And it must stop." The rise in violent attacks has been attributed to racist rhetoric that seeks to place blame on Asian-Americans for COVID-19, as it is believed to have orginated in Wuhan, China. The NYPD reported that Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 1,900 percent during the first half of 2020 alone.