It's not unusual for an upscale restaurant to enforce a strict dress code. If you choose to rock your Nike Airs that evening, you won't be allowed to break bread at one of their pristine tables -- and it's totally within their right to set whatever rules they feel will create the setting they want at their establishment. Other eateries have very reasonable requests -- you know: no shirt, no shoes, no service. Few people would argue with this simple regulation because, you know, your bare feet don't belong anywhere near a plate of food.
But staff members at a Morton's Steakhouse in Nashville took dress code too far when they insisted a man who is undergoing chemotherapy remove his beanie -- and then reportedly kicked him and his party out of the restaurant for not complying.
Robert Chambers has been battling cancer for 10 months. He and 15 coworkers were enjoying a holiday dinner at the chain steakhouse when Chambers said he felt cold and put on his wool beanie to keep his head warm. The party had nearly wrapped up and guests were in the process of paying the $2,500 bill when a totally clueless manager approached the man and asked him to remove his hat. Even though the restaurant's dress code policy doesn't specifically state that hats are prohibited, I am going to play devil's advocate for a second and say it's possible the manager made the assumption that a beanie isn't suitable "business attire."
Fine. But what reportedly happened next is unreal.
Chambers' friends allegedly tried to explain to the manager why the man was wearing his hat. His response? Next time bring a doctor's note. Or, better still, call ahead so they could be seated in a private room. When Chambers refused to remove his hat, party members claim they were asked to leave the restaurant.
What the what?! This is a grown adult male we're talking about. The words "doctor's note" shouldn't be used outside of middle school. And the only way the manager could justify the need for a private room is if he could also explain what made this man's beanie so offensive to other diners?
Even if Morton's had an ironclad rule about beanies, you make an exception for a person who is cold because he or she is suffering from a disease. Absolutely. No. Excuse.
Of course, we need to remember that the insensitive actions of a few people shouldn't reflect on an entire eating establishment (I swear I'm not just saying this because I love a good Morton's steak). Executives from the corporation reportedly did the right thing by contacting Chambers directly to apologize, donating $2,000 to St. Jude's Hospital on Chambers' behalf, and partnering with the man to underwrite a cancer fundraiser.
What do you think of the way the manager treated Chambers? Did he have the right to stick to his guns about the dress code?
Image via A Certain Slant of Light/Flickr