June 12, 2013 at 3:16 PM ET
How to reward two Dunkin' Donuts employees who calmly endured a racist rant from a belligerent and foul-mouthed customer?
The doughnut chain says it will honor the workers at a company event in Florida, but would say no more. Online supporters are less reticent; they argue the two should receive a monetary reward and are raising money for the two.
The issue arose after video of the incident at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Dunkin' Donuts popped up on YouTube.
The two employees -- identified as Abid and Nithi -- were the targets of verbal abuse from a woman who, claiming that she had not received a receipt for a previous day's purchase, was demanding a free meal.
The woman, who used profanities and derogatory terms for Arabs, recorded the incident herself and said she was going to post it on Facebook.
Dunkin' Brands, which owns the doughnut chain, e-mailed a statement to NBCNews.com but gave no further details of the incident and did not explain how the employees will be honored.
"We commend the franchisee's crew member for handling this difficult situation with grace and patience. We believe this is a powerful example of great customer service and the respect our crew members have for our guests," said the statement attributed to Michelle King, Dunkin' Brands' Director of Global Public Relations.
"The franchise owner of the restaurant has reached out to the crew member privately to express and demonstrate his personal appreciation," the statement said, without elaborating on whether the worker was rewarded.
King went on to say: "Additionally, Dunkin' Brands' leadership has reached out to the two crew members featured in the video. Both have been invited to an internal company event in Boca Raton later this month for further recognition."
The video has been seen by thousands of people on YouTube and elicited an immediate response online.
A man identified as Carl from Austin/San Antonio, Texas, said on Indiegogo.com that he was "horrified" by the treatment of the two Dunkin' Donuts employees.
"More than horrified, I was disgusted and outraged. And I can't believe they kept it together, so well. Most of us have had to deal with a difficult customer at one point in our career, but I'd say most people's breaking points would have been reached by this.
"I read that Abid is 18, recently graduated, and has aspirations of being a doctor. I haven't seen what Nithi's aspirations are, but I wanted to counteract this swarm of negativity that happened to these these two, by giving them a foot up in pursuit of their education and careers," Carl wrote.
He set a target of $10,000 to raise for the pair. By Wednesday afternoon, the site -- named "Sorry Abid Adar and Nithi" -- had pledges totaling $1,371.
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