Harvester restaurants: food for the thoughtless

If you want to know what kind of society we live in today, read this link http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/severely-disabled-teenager-turfed-out-4550908 and weep. So here is the situation; a cretin among the diners complains about the noise coming from the table and a manager who should know better but does not (mainly because he has not been trained properly by the company he works for) asks the profoundly disabled person to leave the premises.

Not so sweet: Harvester’s treatment of customer
This is not just about HR or PR (although the £100 gift voucher offered by owners Mitchells & Butlers as compensation is as humiliating as the order to vacate the restaurant). No, this kind of incident is all too common in a society where glamour replaces substance. Drivel like The only way is Essex and I’m a celebrity bombard us with sounds and images that confirm a warped message which tells us ‘we are how we look’. The restaurant manager like many ignorant folk before him, presumably felt he was ‘only doing his job’ in protecting the said cretin who complained from the zombies who were not only ion the space, but also the face of proper humans.

And here is the moral of this story. We cleared the long stay subnormality hospitals 40 years ago in order to give people with profound disabilities a chance in life. Those dismal workhouses for imbeciles, spastics and crazy people gave way to small units where people were supposed to live as independently as their abilities would enable. The rows of lavatories without doors gave way to ensuite bathrooms. And yet, 40 years on, how many cinemas, theatres, football stadia, pubs and clubs are really wheelchair friendly? How many cab drivers can be bothered to stop for a disabled person? And how many capable people with challenging behaviour and learning disabilities do we encounter in work situations? How many more disabled people are turfed out of restaurants?

So in the interests of equality for all Mitchells & Butlers’ customers we challenge the company’s external relations manager Sally Ellison to go onto the company blog and write a full and frank apology to Megan and her family. No, not one of those media course apologies with a humiliating £100 voucher, but one that recognises that the company have failed one of its customers and what they propose to do about this failure. And more importantly, explain why the restaurant manager was programmed to take sides with the cretin who complained and humiliate a disabled woman.

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