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COWETA COUNTY, Ga. - A family of seven, on their way back from vacation, told WSB-TV they stopped at a Georgia Subway restaurant on Monday to eat dinner when things took an unexpected turn.
The members of the Dobson family said an employee called police on them, and they think it’s a case of racism.
WSB-TV obtained the 911 call in which the employee at the Coweta County restaurant accused the family of going back and forth to the bathroom and possibly putting soda in water cups.
The Dobsons said they did nothing wrong, and they want to know what triggered the call.
The family was returning from their grandmother's birthday party in South Georgia over the weekend.
On their drive home to North Carolina, Felicia and Othniel Dobson stopped for dinner at a Subway on Newnan Crossing Boulevard with their children – ages 8, 12, 13 and 19 – and the children's aunt.
“I have a 24-year-old sister who’s a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T (State University). My daughter’s 19. She’s entering sophomore year at Wake Forest University,” Felicia Dobson said.
The family was at the restaurant for about an hour when a Subway employee made an urgent 911 call.
"I need somebody to come through here please, ASAP. Now," the employee said. "There's about eight people in a van, and they've been in the store for about an hour. They keep going back and forth to the bathrooms by my back door."
A Newnan police officer showed up. The Dobsons said the officer apologized and told them the employee had said she was suspicious of the family and that she has been robbed before and thought they would rob her.
"I don't think she ever felt threatened," Dobson said. "We can't change our skin color. I have great kids. I have a great family."
Subway franchisee Rosh Patel sent WSB-TV the following statement:
"I take this very seriously, and I am fully investigating. I have also used this opportunity to reiterate to my staff the importance of making everyone feel welcome."
Felicia Dobson said the owner called her Tuesday evening and apologized. She said she was told the employee is on administrative leave.