Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day. It started quite well: I went out on my usual wanderings, and by mid-afternoon, having done all the sensible stuff I needed to do, I was beginning to think about having a beer somewhere. At first I tried at the Tudor Barn, a fine old place not far from here, but they were running on pre-bookings only. The staff know me there and tried to fit me in, but there wasn’t any space. I knew that was a long shot anyway, so I carried on up the hill to Eltham High Street. The Weatherspoons is still shut, but I found an Italian bistro serving drinks on a large square. There were several people there enjoying theirselves, but also several tables free.
I rolled up to one of the staff, and through my Ipad asked if I could have a beer. At first everything seemed fine, but then a person who I presume was the head waitress intervened, saying I wasn’t allowed alcohol: I could have coke or a soft drink, but not beer. She struck me as abrupt, stern and rude. Angered, I tried to ask why, but she refused to answer, stopping the other staff from speaking to me. I tried to ask to speak to the manager but was completely ignored; they were treating me like a child. I persevered for about ten minutes but then headed home, quite furious about what had just happened.
Back here I tapped the restaurant’s name into Google and, finding their website, emailed the manager to ask why I had been treated like that. I also messaged a friend of mine, Will, who normally works at the nearby ‘Spoons, to see if he could help. An hour or so later, Serkan got here for dinner. I was still furious and showed him the Email I had sent to explain why. He immediately became angry too and suggested going back to the restaurant together to talk to the staff.
I thought that was a great idea, and a short while later we got there. Of course the staff recognised me from earlier. Serkan asked them why they had treated me as they had, and they explained – talking to Serkan rather than myself – that they didn’t know whether I was on any medication or whether I was fully ‘up there’. The exchange didn’t last very long, but it was quite clear that they just hadn’t wanted me there.
We got back here still quite angry; I felt discriminated against, and still do. I’m still waiting for a reply to my email. It occurs to me that, had something like this happened to a member of any other minority, people wouldn’t put up with it, so why should I?