[UPDATE: Red Robin makes good!]
To: Steve Carley, CEO Red Robin
From: Jack William Bell, an ex customer
Subject: Your staff put me in danger
Today was a one of those days. I worked late and was quite tired. Too tired, in fact, to deal with the remaining traffic at 6:30 when I left the office. Normally I ride the bus and don’t worry about the traffic, but like I said it was one of those days–and today that included driving into the office in Seattle traffic.
I decided to drop into your Pier 55 location here in Seattle. It is near my office and quite near where I parked my car. Truth is, I might have gone elsewhere except for the convenience factor. But I wanted a burger and a beer and a chance to relax and let the traffic die down and I was willing to pay the premium prices you charge for otherwise unremarkable fare.
So I went in and found myself a seat at the end of the bar. I asked for a glass of the Elysian (the only really decent beer you have on tap there) and was told it was “probably out.” So I ordered a different beer and asked for a food menu.
While I was waiting I had to sneeze. To avoid sneezing across the bar I turned my head and covered my mouth. However, it was a fairly violent sneeze and, apparently, some of it got onto a guy sitting a couple of seats away.
This man then complains loudly to me. At first I was a little surprised, because he was acting like I did it on purpose, so I was wondering if he was actually being humorous or something. I mean, it’s not like anyone would intentionally sneeze on someone else. Then I realized he was seriously angry.
Of course I apologized. I then explained it was an accident. He, very loudly and using foul language, accused me of not covering my mouth. I told him I did cover my mouth, re-iterated that it was an accident, and apologized again. He kept at it. I apologized a third time.
He then got up and, as they say ‘got in my face’. Speaking even louder and using even worse language.
I looked him in the eye and said, “You are actually going to get in my face this way for accidentally sneezing on you? Seriously?”
At which point the man escalated the situation even further, threatening me and drawing back his arm as if to take a swing. I stood up and prepared to defend myself when suddenly one of your staff members grabbed my arms, as if I was the agressor, and another staff member started asking the man to watch his language, as there were children present.
No one attempted to restrain this man who, unlike myself, was waving his arms violently and making a fist.
At this point my options were severely limited. I could wrench myself free and cover myself in case this lunatic took a swing at me or I could stand there like a lamb and hope your staff, who were not handling the situation well, could calm him down.
In the end I decided to leave before the situation escalated even further. Once I was out of the building I called the restaurant and left my name and number, in case a manager wanted to call me and apologize; something I felt was entirely deserved.
Need I mention no one called?
So, let’s lay this out in bullet points; shall we?
- A crazy man verbally assaults me in your restaurant and acts as if he will also physically assault me
- Your staff grab me, but leave him free to throw a punch
- No one bothers to apologize for this stupidity
So, Steve, put yourself in my place for a second. How would you feel right now? Angry? Humiliated? Like you would never go back to that restaurant again?
Yeah, like that.
Jack William Bell