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Linglestown Gazette: Letter to editor: Fair treatment lacking at eatery

Monday, February 09, 2009

Letter to editor: Fair treatment lacking at eatery

Last Friday, a bitterly cold night, my husband and I went to Applebee’s in Hershey, around 5:45 pm, for date night.

Upon arriving we signed in with the hostess and sat down beside a party of seven who had already checked it. This party of seven consisted of four men in wheelchairs wrapped in winter gear, and their three caretakers. Within 10-15 minutes, my husband and I were seated at a table with a view of the waiting area. As time passed, we watched numerous parties arrive and be seated ahead of this special group. Our meals arrived, but we were troubled with every bite. It just didn’t seem right that this group was still waiting. It especially did not seem right that they were sitting near the cold, drafty doors, still waiting, when we put our coats on and walked out the door.



At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is great that you at least went back in. Those poor people. I hope they didn't realize they were being neglected by the staff at Applebee's. The caretakers should have opened their mouth though.
Thank you for being so kind and considerate.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, just to play "devil's advocate":

There ARE fire laws to ensure the safety of patrons should a fire occur; they prohibit any large obstruction (hi-chair, wheelchair, large sofa, etc) from certain lanes of foot traffic toward fire exits. They may not be clearly marked on the floor for other diners to see but the managers know about them and would be cited & fined in certain instances. It's not just wheelchairs. If a group of mommies bring in 14 SUV-style strollers and expect to all park them around a table, they functionally block fire lanes. Not safe, but try telling that to SUV-stroller toting mommies.

Also, perhaps their caretakers could have phoned ahead? Wouldn't that have been a basic move, considering? I'm sure it wasn't on whim that everyone was dressed up out in the cold of late January, in chairs (which necessitates a modified vehicle of some kind), and out to eat. The restaurant would probably have been happy to accommodate, had they been given any kind of notification.

That's not to say that the restaurant is in the clear for your perception that they ignored them, but the caretakers could have taken some initiative too. It's just how it is if you or anyone needs some accommodation when dining out. Have some consideration for the workers who had to figure out how to accommodate a last minute large group with added complications.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger jerseymike said...

While I understand and empathize with this situation, I don't know if it was necessary to use the word "special" four times in the letter.

Sure, it was an unfortunate and delicate circumstance; but to write a letter and emphasize how "special" people in wheelchairs are just seems sort of, I don't know...condescending.

Especially considering most handicapped people I know don't consider themselves "special" at all.


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