I know I am not the only person who watches the news on a daily basis, sees grown adults dissolve into foaming rabid beasts in forums and comment threads about things as trivial as kittens and puppies playing and wonders about the state of our society today. I know historically people have always done this so I’m hoping mankind and society is not as horrific as it often seems to be.
Then I come across stories that are so heartwarming, that make me stand up and cheer and want to give people a high five that I realized humans may not be in as dire straights as a race as it often seems. Lately these stories have come out of the Hospitality industry, an industry where the customer is always right and proprietors are supposed to bend over backwards to please their guests so that they will return again and again and bring friends and family. So what happens when a guest behaves in such an abhorrent manner that it goes against everything you know is right? Two employees and establishment owners faced this question when they came across insultingly ignorant customers within just the past three weeks!
In Columbus, Ohio, employees of Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck heard a commotion towards the back of the line of customers waiting to be served. It turns out a gay couple was standing in line holding hands and minding their own business when the twatwaffle (and I’m sorry but what other adjective is strong enough?) standing behind them started cursing at them and screaming homophobic slurs. Upon hearing this one employee informed the douche “If he couldn’t treat the people like human beings that were in the line and stop spewing that hatred at them, that I wasn’t going to serve him” and made him get out of line!
In Houston, Texas a waiter at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib refused service to a family who insisted on being moved because they were sitting next to another family with a boy who had Down Syndrome. Reportedly, the “man” at the table had remarked “Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.” Well, the family’s request to be moved was honored, they were moved right out of the restaurant!
Now I know some people may think, well wouldn’t it be bad for business to throw customers out because they don’t share the same beliefs as you? Apparently not since both establishments have reported a boost in business from people who want to meet the employees who took a stand against ignorance. Even Chick-Fil-A, whose homophobic stance brought in record numbers from other bigots, saw a boost in sales by standing for their own misguided beliefs.
The fact of the matter is the battle for society and its norms rages from everywhere and can come at any time and from any place and that includes the hospitality industry. No, the customer is not always right and establishments do have the right not to serve you (within the law) if you behave like an asshat and are insulting to the proprietor and their customers. Proprietors do not have to keep quiet and tolerate ignorance, bigotry or sexist remarks for fear of losing business. Not only are you responsible for maintaining a favorable work environment for your employees, which does not include forcing them to have to deal with disparaging remarks, but in taking a stand it shows customers and potential customers exactly what kind of establishment you are running. I’m sure some of Mikey and Laurenzo’s customers decided not to come back after hearing about these incidents but many more people flocked to these establishments because they took a stand. In the end you need to think, how much does the almighty dollar mean to you? How much is your soul worth?