Letter: Server’s side of respect the homeless letter
To the editor:
I would like to comment on the reply to the conversation about the homeless facing segregation.
The individual, who wrote a letter to the editor on Oct. 10 [Homeless Deserve Respect Same As All of Us], about the homeless man in the coffee shop facing discrimination clearly had no idea what was actually going on. I am the cashier who served this man, and on this evening, he entered the coffee shop belligerently drunk and obviously high on some sort of drug. He immediately budged the line-up, approached the counter and started swearing and yelling at my colleague.
My colleague turned to me for help, as she was clearly stunned and unsure of how to handle the situation. I took over and addressed the customer’s concern. He wanted to order two sandwiches and two drinks, which I gave to him, but since he was so rude and clearly inconsiderate of us cashiers and the people in the cafe, I politely asked if he would take his order outside. He complied with no problems, and left the store.
Over the next four hours he came in another two times, and by the third time he was coming off of his high so he was a little more polite. He was still unpleasant, however, and making a scene and a mess all over the place.
I am writing this letter to clear up the confusion, as it puts a bad name on Kelowna businesses and it hurt my feelings to hear this.
I take great pride in serving my customers, and by no means did I mean to “segregate” this man. It really was not a concern to me if he was homeless or not, it was purely the fact that he was disrespecting myself, my colleague and disrupting the cafe. We do not have to put up with drunk customers yelling at us, threatening us or swearing at us. It is unfair to claim that we were discriminating against him because he was homeless, as this customer who complained clearly didn’t understand the context of what was going on.
We have had this kind of situation before, where an individual under the influence of drugs or alcohol has caused a disturbance in the cafe. We contacted the police on these other occasions, and they told us that the best thing for us to do is ask them to leave the building. If they refuse to leave, then it becomes appropriate for us to call the RCMP so that they can further deal with the situation. I was just following protocol, and the man in question complied with my request for him to leave the cafe.
I hope this letter can clear up the confusion, and prove that there are always two sides to the story. In any case, it is important to understand both sides of the issue before taking further action. I hope the customer who wrote to the editor now knows the full extent of the story, and can adjust their claim accordingly.