I’m sure by now we all know of the owner of this restaurant near the nation’s capital, who asked the president’s press secretary to leave the restaurant. The owner was morally opposed to serving the press secretary and her party. The owner described it as an uncomfortable decision and action to uphold her own morals.
What an awkward situation to face, unrehearsed.
Back in the day I owned a business, I had half a dozen occasions to send children and adults from my booth. Unescorted children generally were told publicly; they often needed additional instruction on where to find the exit and how far to go.
Invariably there would be a return call, a parent with a blubbering, wailing child, demanding to know what I had done to their child. I seldom addressed the parent, only the child. We went outside, and I said “Tell your mother what you did.” I would count off a few more loud wails, then say to the parent, “I think you should leave. When your child has calmed down and thought through the behavior, I’m sure they will tell you.”
Only once was there retribution. I did not know the mother of the child who thought she could stand on my spinning wheel was on the board of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I was never invited back to their art show. I’ve always felt the value of the story outweighed any personal loss on my part.
My technique was good, old fashioned shaming. It’s among the ways we teach children to understand the morals of the adults in their world. For better or for worse, it seems.
I believe I would have told my staff to continue service, though they could skip the small “I hope you’re having a good evening!” chat. On arriving, I would have invited Ms. Sanders into the hall and explained the staff was waiting on them as a courtesy, at her request.
All of them find Ms. Sanders morally offensive. She and the staff consider Ms. Sanders contemptable for condoning the president’s behavior to immigrants and children.
Therefore, Ms. Sanders could consider tonight’s service and meal as their cake at a very gay wedding. They could have it, and eat it too, if they wished. And I would have led her back to the table and been gone.
In truth, the owner barely misstepped. She certainly was within the law of the land. I know from experience, you need practice dealing with these situations, and you must know how to turn the ball of anxiety churning in the pit of your stomach into a hardball.
When I returned to the booth after such an episode, invariably the other customers were discussing the incident loudly enough for the retreating parent to hear. I think the barrage of tweets and remarks on her return would have sent Ms. Sanders, etal, from The Red Hen.