Carmelita's Partially Takes Down "Pop for President" Mural Because of Fully-Triggered Customer

click to enlarge JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
Jessica Elizarraras
Pop for President. It's not an anthem, per se, as much as it is a rallying cry getting us through the next several years. It's wishful, cheeky and mostly a joke (but really, Pop, think about it), and for Jessica Herrera of Carmelita's Mexican Restaurant, the "Pop for President" theme the restaurant commissioned to celebrate 15 years in business, the slogan was silly.

Herrera commissioned Albert Gonzales of Hausmann Milworks for a Pop-centric piece since he shared her vision. After a month's worth of texting and coordinating, Herrera approved a Uncle Sam-esque mural with Pop, Timmy, Tony, Manu and Kawhi and the words "Pop for President" above the players. The artist says he was inspired by Pop being more vocal against the current administration. In recent months, Pop's no-holds-barred answers to reporter questions have included calling Trump a"soulless coward," a "pathological liar" and saying "there's a cloud, a pall over the whole country." Gonzales' other work includes a large mural behind Burger Culture with the Big 3.

Gonzales began the mural on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.

"We were here late and people were coming by and honking and taking photos," Gonzales said. "Even when the restaurant opened, nothing bad had happened, except for one customer."

Gonzales described an exchange with a regular who watched him as he painted.

"I asked how his day was going and he said, 'It was going well until I'd seen this.' He went inside and left abruptly after talking to the owner."

Minutes later, Herrera asked Gonzales to paint over the faux campaign slogan.

Gonzales shared his disappointment in a Facebook Live video where he's seen spray painting over the words.

"I thought it would be silly," Herrera said. "I realize we have all generations and all sorts of customers, but it wasn't our intent to offend."

Though Herrera said most of the feedback had been positive so far ("even a Trump supporter I know of laughed at it,"), she described the exchange with the same customer Gonzales encountered, a regular at Carmelita's, as shocking. Herrera took down what the customer said on her smartphone and shared it with the Current.

"He said, 'That's not good for business,' I said 'OK.' He said, 'I'm just letting you know,' I said 'OK,' and he said, 'It's disappointing,'" Herrera said. "I didn't say anything else because when they're here, the customer is always right, but it scared me."

"We're the epitome of a mom and pop shop and we take it seriously," Herrera, who has been a part of the family business since she was 18, went on. "This is my home and I would hate to have someone not come back."

Though the sign has been painted over, and the Spurs players and coach remain, Herrera doesn't want to take the risk of offending more thin-skinned Trump-supporting customers.

"Maybe I spooked too quickly..." she trailed off.