Bystanders were shocked by a man screaming profanities at the staff of the Chinese Garden Restaurant in Blind Bay on Aug. 7, 2020. (Amanda Toms/Facebook)

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

If you can’t be respectful and follow the rules, you may not be welcome at B.C. restaurants.

This is the general message behind a campaign being launched by the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association in response to concerning incidents that occurred recently at several establishments, including the Chinese Garden Restaurant in Blind Bay, where an enraged customer verbally lashed out at staff.

A video of the one-sided exchange went viral on social media.

*This video may be distressing to some viewers*

News of another incident at a Mr. Mikes in Langford, where the restaurant said guests became belligerent when asked to follow COVID-19 policies, prompted comment from B.C. Premier John Horgan.

“To have idiots come in and be idiots is quite frankly not acceptable,” he said. “It’s not acceptable to abuse people when you’re going out to have a meal … People are just being stupid.”

BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association president and CEO Ian Tostenson called what he saw in the video at the Shuswap restaurant “disgusting,” noting such behaviour only exacerbates what is already a challenging time for restaurant owners.

“So we’re drawing a line, we’re starting a campaign… which is basically telling people if you can’t follow the rules then stay home because we’re not at all interested in trying to accommodate self-serving, narrow people that are putting their interests ahead of public safety, and putting business owners and their staff into a stressful environment,” said Tostenson, adding the majority of people are respectful and grateful to be able to be able to dine out or order in.

Though upset by what occurred at the Blind Bay restaurant, South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce executive director Karen Brown called the incident atypical. Brown said she contacted the restaurant’s owner who said they were fine. She added that she and other chamber members would be paying the restaurant staff a visit to show they’re loved.

Brown noted the chamber launched its own campaign this spring, Kindness is Contagious, as a reminder that this is a difficult time for many, and encouraging people to be respectful of one another.

“Let’s just take a deep breath here and follow the words of the provincial health officer, don’t judge, be kind and we’re all going to get through this together,” said Brown. “That’s really what it’s about.”

Brown is proud of the South Shuswap business community’s response to the pandemic, and said everybody is trying their best to keep visitors and staff safe.

Canoe Beach Cafe co-owner Jim Dunlop said they’ve had the odd irate customer over the year years. For some a menu item was renamed in their honour.

“So we’ve had Mr. Cranky Pants burger for a while…,” laughs Dunlop. “The thing is, if I did that this year, I would run out of food options to name.

“Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit; we’ve probably had five or six, as opposed to one or two people who have really lost it.”

Dunlop said he and his wife Joyce have taken numerous steps to meet and exceed COVID-19 health and safety requirements at the cafe as both of them are immunocompromised.

“She’s just a walking miracle, she’s a three-time cancer survivor, she’s down to one lung, so can you ever imagine if we did contact COVID-19?” said Dunlop.

As a result, however, food service can be slow – something they explain in advance to their customers, the majority of whom are understanding.

Though optimistic about the future of the cafe, Dunlop is concerned for other B.C. restaurants that have been struggling under COVID-19.

“That’s why my message to everybody has just been lighten up, take a breath and try to think of what that other party is going through…,” said Dunlop, adding there’s no excuse for the hostile behaviour. Regarding the man hurling hostilities in the video, Dunlop said he hopes it was a learning experience, that he apologizes and gets whatever help he may need.

Read more: Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Blind Bay restaurant

Read more: ‘Just being stupid’: B.C. premier slams abusive customers at Greater Victoria restaurant

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Editorial: More LKB neighbours leads to more understanding

“Both proposals for Kinsmen Park serve each party’s stakeholders well. Each has the intention of strengthening and growing community. But only one truly offers a chance to heal the past and change the narrative for the future.”

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Creston’s temporary worker camp for cherry-pickers wraps up for season

The camp provided accommodations for up to 50 temporary workers during the cherry-picking season

Creston RCMP report: 62 calls for assistance from Sept. 14 to 21

On Sept. 18, police attended to a report of a male causing a disturbance at a Creston business after he was denied use of the washroom facilities

Creston Fire Rescue report: 10 calls for action between Sept. 14 and 21

CFR responded to a carbon monoxide alarm in the area of Regina Street on Sept. 20, and found moderate levels of carbon monoxide after searching the residence with a gas monitor

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Most Read