WANTAGE, N.J. — Employees at a New Jersey diner found hate speech all over the building when they showed up to work this weekend. They called State Police at approximately 7 a.m. on Sunday to report the vandalism.
An outdoor refrigerator had been ransacked and there was spoiled food all over the ground. Swastikas and Hitler references covered the diner’s exterior.
“Paper, buckets, everything just all over the floor, everywhere,” recalled Miguel Velez, 20, an employee. He couldn’t understand why this happened. “Why here? I don’t know. Everyone here is nice. We treat each other like family. We are all friends."
The Airport Diner sits on an airfield in front of Sussex County Airport.
"Basically everyone comes here to eat right before they go to jump out of planes,” said Velez.
He posted photos of the vandalism to Facebook. Within hours, community members showed up with brushes and paint to erase the hate.
“This is a staple of the community so it was really hard to see,” said Ashley Craig, who lives nearby. She started a GoFundMe page to replace the spoiled food and was among the volunteers who repainted the diner’s exterior.
"Less than 24 hours later it is gone, thank God. And the building looks absolutely great."
Despite the vandalism, the diner did open for business Sunday and Monday. In fact, the manager said they’ve been extra busy because as soon as people heard about what happened, they wanted to come out and support this diner.
“You know we’re stronger, and we’re better. Hate has no place here and it never will,” said Craig.
New Jersey State Police are investigating the incident.