Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below. -Roger Nash Baldwin-
It was my aunts 60th birthday yesterday and we all decided to go out for dinner at this newly opened chinese restaurant. I called in to make reservations for twenty people, and was told that they’ll be holding our seats 6:30 PM. I said it was fine, since it wasn’t too far. But then came 6 o’clock and we are still missing six people, so I called the restaurant and said that we are coming in a little bit late. But we will surely be there to have dinner. The lady on the phone said it was alright, and I hanged up.
We made it to our destination at about 6:45 PM and all twenty people were present. I checked in at the counter and said, “Good evening, I believe we have reservation for twenty guests. The name would be under Nell Reyes.” The attentant looked at his book and said, “You guys are late. We gave your seats to someone else!” Take note, he didn’t even bother saying hi, hello or good evening. Grrrr! And when he said that, I felt a bit irate, but still kept my cool. “I talked to a lady earlier and was told that she’ll extend our reservation in as long as we showed up” I said to the guy. He then left the counter without saying a word and asked the people working in the rear side area of the restaurant. He came back after and said “I’m sorry, I asked them but they don’t know who took your call.” By the time I heard that, I started raising my voice. I have twenty people with me and not enough seats for my relatives to wait, and all they can tell me is they’re sorry. Dad pulled me to the side requesting that we just leave and go elsewhere. But I told him that these people need a lesson in customer service. So I walked up to the counter again and asked to speak with the manager. Who unfortunately was not in, great! So I ask for a supervisor and here comes a guy from the kitchen wearing his apron. “Yes, can I help you?” And I told this gentleman the whole story and guess what he said to me, “You were late, so we give your seats to other customers.” I think I turned pale upon hearing this and could not control myself any longer, “Were you paying attention to what I said? Someone here from your restaurant told me that it was okay for us to be late. Now what part of that don’t you get? Cause if that person told me that they couldn’t hold our seats any longer. I wouldn’t think twice going elsewhere!” The said supervisor then raised his voice and told us to get out, then pointing to this sign on the wall that says, We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone! This people are surely testing my patience and so I decided to give them a lesson they’ll never forget. It so happen that I know a thing or two about civil law and business ethics. “Do you know that what you’re doing is unlawful. According to the Civil Act of 1964, Title III. Discrimination in hotels, restaurants, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce is considered a violation, therefore punishable by law. And by you doing this to me and twenty other people would probably result to some hefty civil penalties. Now do you really want to pissed me off and lecture me on rights?” The guy was quiet and quickly called someone on the phone. Minutes after, a lady came to the door and asked to talked to me in private. In our conversation, she claimed that she is the owner and the one I talked to on the phone. She kept on apologizing and ordered the waiters to clear a room to accomodate us. She was far more courteous and graceful than the first two people I initially had a conversation with. The lady also told a waiter to take off the sign.
Needless to say, we were then seated and given the food menus. The owner personally took our orders, and then I asked to speak with her. “I am hoping that your people don’t do anything unsanitary on our food cause of what happened earlier. I’m sure you know what I mean. Right?” The lady said in a pleading voice, “Oh no no Sir. I guarantee you the food will be fresh and clean.” I thank her after and she went to the kitchen. After a good hour and a half in the restaurant and enjoying the wonderful meal. My Dad then asked for the bill, we were absolutely surprised when we found out that we were given 50% discount. It was a kind gesture, but we refused the offer. In appreciation, the owner gave us free desserts — fried sweet banana and vanilla ice cream. We paid the bill, thank the kind lady (and apologized for what has happened earlier) and left the building.
Surely, I am no darn lawyer or ever will be. But I sure know some of my rights. And sometimes, knowing them by heart can work towards our advantage…