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July 26, 2011

Rumor hurts Corbin gas station

Facebook posts suggest owners refused soldiers

CORBIN — Michele Baker / Staff Writer

A Corbin business has suffered a downturn due to an apparently false rumor circulated on social media outlets that the owners refused to serve uniformed soldiers.

Since last weekend, the rumor has spread via Facebook and Topix posts involving Danny Patel, who owns the Sak-N-Pak station on Cumberland Falls Highway near the Root Beer Stand.

Patel, who is from India, said he found out about the rumors Saturday.

“Someone is lying. It did not happen and it is very upsetting,” Patel said. “I have no trouble serving anyone in the military.”

Patel said he is a U.S. citizen and has lived in this country for 22 years. He moved to Corbin three years ago.

Patel said he doesn’t understand why anyone would say he wouldn’t serve someone in the military because his daughter is in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Corbin High School.

Corbin Police Chief David Campbell said his department has received numerous calls about the alleged incident.

“We have had a dozen calls this morning (Monday) and we are trying to verify the allegations. We are trying to stop the rumors,” Campbell said. “This is a civil matter and if it did happen, the victims can seek civil action. If someone feels they have been discriminated against, they can call the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Attempts to contact the servicemen who were allegedly refused service have been unsuccessful.

Allegations of business owners refusing to serve soldiers are rampant on the Internet. Snopes — a site that debunks urban legends — cites numerous cases involving fabricated stories about soldiers who were refused service. Most of the fabrications involved business owners who were minorities.

Some of the posts on the social media sites about Patel’s store include ethnic slurs.

Patel said the hearsay on Facebook and Topix has caused him problems.

“It has hurt my business. The military are welcome at my store,” Patel said. “Everyone is welcome. It is my business, it is my life.”

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