I eat out at a lot of restaurants. It’s one of the hazards of writing a food blog.
So, I’d like to think I know how restaurants would behave given certain circumstances.
So, when it comes to this ABC 7 story, let me stay…I don’t believe the Restaurant:
A customer at a Pasadena restaurant said she invited a homeless man to eat with her and her son, but the man was then told to take his food to go by the owner.
Conrad’s Family Restaurant has been in business for 40 years. Florencia Albert has eaten there over the years, but now she won’t go back because of how they treated the homeless man.
Albert invited him into the restaurant for a meal Saturday morning.
“I thought to myself, ‘Well if he asked me for money, I’ll buy him some food.’ Instead he asked me for French toast,” she said. “I told them that I was buying breakfast for the gentleman and if they could please send his bill to me. They looked a little surprised and they said OK.”
She said the man left before being served because the owner told him he could only take the food to go. Albert brought the man back to the restaurant to eat his breakfast.
The owner of Conrad’s disputes that part of the story and said the man was panhandling before Albert arrived. Police were also called to the restaurant.
Frank Gooch, the owner’s attorney, said the man was not kicked out of the restaurant.
“He was not refused service. He was given service, and there was no intention of ever having him thrown out. Although the police officer who came indicated that was an option that the family had,” he said.
You can read the rest at ABC 7’s site, but…c’mon. We know how Restaurants roll.
A Restaurant is in the pleasure business…or, if it’s like Conrad’s (not a place I’d go out of my way to review) they are at least in the customer service business.
When a Restaurant has a Homeless person walk in, already stereotyped as being dirty and disgusting by too many people, the Restaurant has a choice to make. Either risk the ire of the other customers by allowing him or her to stay, or risk the ire of the one homeless person by asking them to leave. It’s a simple mathematical equation. Added to the fact that…odds are…the homeless person can’t pay anyway, and…if you’re Conrad’s what have you lost?
In this case, the Homeless Man could pay (and isn’t a damn shame we don’t know his name, because you know…he has one)…or rather his bill was being covered. So why not let the man have a moment to eat a dignified meal?
But Conrad’s allegedly no.
Now, Conrad’s (through their attorney) is denying everything that Florencia Albert said happened…
…which is strange because, I don’t think the Homeless Man…Florencia Albert were the one’s called the Police into the situation. I’m pretty sure that was Conrad’s.
Look, I know this area like the back of my hand. There are a lot of homeless in the area up by the 210 Freeway, standing out on the median, asking for change. There is a fairly large shelter further about a half mile away on South Lake. Say what you will, but the Homeless people in this area are not strangers…they’re Pasadenans too. The people of Pasadena want to help when and where they can.
Florencia Albert found one case where she thought she could help.
…and Conrad’s stepped in…and called the cops.
You can make your choice about whether or not you want to eat there. I won’t be, but I wasn’t planning on doing it anyway. Still, if you want to see Florencia Albert’s Facebook Post (that has since gone viral), just click here.