Sadly, Our Space Is Not A Safe Space

, , , , , | Right | January 12, 2020

(We have a regular customer who is disabled and prefers to sit on a specific sofa in our coffee shop because it’s more comfortable for her. She always comes in at a low-traffic time so that sofa is usually free – no problems. Today, I’ve taken her tea and toast over to her and am back at the till serving more customers when I see a lady with her kid come in, go over to the sofa, and point at our regular.)

Customer: “Right, you need to move.”

Regular: “Err, sorry, what?”

Customer: “That’s our seat.”

Regular: *looking around at almost empty shop* “There are loads of other seats and I just sat down.”

Customer: “No, we always sit here. My kid’s autistic and can’t handle sitting anywhere else.”

Regular: “As you can see–” *points to walking aids* “–I can’t exactly jump up and move, anyway. Look, I’ll be about half an hour, so if you come back later the seat will be free, then.”

Customer: “No. You can sit anywhere else. My son can’t.”

(She then picks up our regular’s food and drink and puts it down on a nearby table!)

Regular: “What the bloody h*** are you playing at?!”

(I manage to get one of the other staff over to take over the till while I go over to sort this. I give our regular back her food and drink.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, you can’t just take other people’s food and drink.”

Customer: “She’s in our space.”

Me: “With all due respect, it’s not your space. Either stop bothering this lady and sit somewhere else or leave.”

Customer: “We have to sit here! My son has autism! This [disabled slur] here can sit anywhere; we can’t!”

Me: “Okay, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You’re causing a scene.”

Customer: “That’s discrimination! Get me your manager.”

Me: “No. Get out.”

Customer: “I bet she wouldn’t need a whole sofa if she wasn’t so f****** fat, anyway.”

Me:Out!

Customer: “I’m going to get you fired!”

Me: “Get out or I’m calling the police.”

(She did leave then, swearing her head off about how “fat isn’t disabled.” I asked our regular if she was okay and she gave me a fiver, “as a tip, and a thank-you for getting my tea back!” I’d never seen that lady nor her kid before!)

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