That’s Not At All Patronizing, Is It?

, , , , | Working | December 22, 2020

Some friends and I are sitting in our local pub on Friday night, having a few beers and discussing life, the universe, and everything. At the table next to us are a man and a woman in their forties doing much the same. The woman is in a wheelchair.

After they’ve been sitting there for a few hours, drinking and eating, the man heads to the bathroom while the woman flags down the waiter and asks for two more beers.

Waiter: “Sorry, I can’t serve you.”

Woman: *Taken aback* “Why not? We haven’t been too loud, have we?”

Waiter: “No, but I don’t know if you should be drinking.” *Points to her wheelchair* “Once your caretaker gets back, if he says it’s okay, then I’ll serve you.”

Woman: *Astonished* “My ‘caretaker’?”

Waiter: “Yeah, the guy who’s helping you out.”

Woman: “He’s not my ‘caretaker.’ I’m an adult; I’m quite capable of taking care of myself. You’ve been serving us for hours now with no problem.”

Waiter: “Because your caretaker was ordering.”

Woman: “He’s not my caretaker.”

Waiter: “Look, I’m sorry, but how am I supposed to know you’re not on some medication that will react poorly with alcohol?”

Woman: “Everyone else here could be, too, and you’re not refusing to serve them. I’m in a wheelchair; I’m not sick.”

Waiter: “How am I supposed to know that?”

Woman: “Because I’m telling you.”

Waiter: “And if your caretaker tells me the same, I’ll serve you.”

Woman: “Okay, let me speak to your manager.”

Waiter: “I’m the owner. So if you have a reaction to alcohol, that’ll be my responsibility, and I don’t want that.”

My Friend: “Look, just serve her. We’ve all been sitting here for a while, and the only one having a ‘reaction’ is you.”

Waiter: “Sure. Just as soon as her caretaker—”

Woman: *Furious* “He’s not my ‘caretaker’!”

My Friend: “And I am on medication, which is why I’ve been drinking soda all night, and you keep trying to sell me beer.”

Waiter: “But that’s different.”

And so on and so forth. The couple ended up leaving, as did we, and we haven’t been back since.

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