When Trinity Bethune stepped foot into the Lumberton Honda dealership on Wednesday, her only goal was to secure a vehicle. And she did just that, describing the visit and process as “good.” She signed the paperwork, collected the keys and got her photo taken with her 2016 Toyota Camry by the salesman Ethan Brooks. Then on Thursday night, Trinity checked the dealership’s Facebook page and found her photo posted and captioned “Congratulations to Bon Quisha on her 2016 Toyota Camry.”
“I felt humiliated, Trinity told The Shade Room. “I felt that my character was being played with.”
By the time Trinity saw the post at 8:30 p.m. Thursday evening, it had been sitting for about an hour. Confused and hurt, she left a comment addressing the caption.
“I’m not sure if this is a “joke” or something but my name is definitely Trinity Bethune,” she wrote. “I’m very offended by this post, it’s almost a racial slur. If I’m not addressed by MY name then please don’t address me at all.”
According to Trinity, the caption was changed, then deleted about an hour after she commented. The same night, Trinity’s brother Tyrone Jacob took to his Facebook to air out the dealership’s treatment of his sister. The post quickly went viral on the platform with Tyrone calling the caption “not a mistake.”
“This is not how I planned to congratulate my little sister on her first car purchase,” he wrote. “This is completely intentional, disgusting, unfair and many other adjectives I could use to describe this situation.”
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By Friday afternoon, the post had received more than 5,700 comments and over 17,000 shares. Tyrone pointed out in his post that typing Bon Quisha “requires effort and intent” given that Trinity’s name is spelled using predominantly “the first row of the keyboard.”
In speaking to The Shade Room, Trinity revealed the general manger of the Lumberton dealership did reach out to her privately. During a phone call on Friday morning, the manger apologized for the incident and shared that Ethan is allegedly no longer employed with the dealership. According to the manager, the processing of posting to their social media involves the salespeople sending the photos and names to the social media manager to be posted.
But Trinity said that’s not enough, given how she was “humiliated on a social media platform.” When asked if she’d like a public apology, Trinity insisted the general manager seek his own solution rather than looking to her to resolve it.
“If this was his daughter, sister, wife, how would he wanted it to be handled,” Trinity asked the manager. “And him firing someone doesn’t help me in any way, I’m still hurt.”
The Shade Room attempted to contact the dealership for comment, but was twice met with the following statement by employees answering the phone: “We don’t have time to listen to your complaints, our phones are blowing up.” The employees also shared the managers were in a meeting addressing the post, before ending the calls.
Trinity said she has not been contacted again by the general manager or any additional employees of the company. There also hasn’t been any updates posted to the dealership’s Facebook page. Despite any action they take, Trinity said she’ll be pursing the matter legally and is looking to hire a lawyer for “defamation of character.”
“Every time I make a payment on this car, I’m going to be reminded of the same subject, for a very long time,” Trinity said.
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