By Dan Calabrese
Smart people understand that politics is politics and business is business. Smart people also understand that the party thing isn’t personal. You can disagree with someone but you don’t treat them badly or harass them in public because of said disagreements.
Stephanie Wilkinson is not a smart person. She’s a dumb person. She thought the presence of a Trump Administration official in her restaurant required her to take a grandiose moral stand. Wilkinson showed no class, while Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed all class, politely agreeing to leave and even offering to pay for a meal she wasn’t allowed to eat.
Wilkinson showed with this incident that she is petulant and immature, and that she doesn’t know how to separate political opinions from the importance of simple common decency. She showed she is a small, foolish human being, and now her restaurant is in the middle of a firestorm she could have avoided just by treating a customer as we might normally expect a business owner to treat a customer.
But it’s worse than that. It turns out there are many restaurants across the country with the name Red Hen. It is not a chain. It’s just a common name that a lot of establishments have chosen to use.
And thanks to Stephanie Wilkinson petulant act of rudeness to a customer who was causing no problems whatsoever, the owners of all these other Red Hen restaurants are encountering grief from members of the public who think the restaurants are one and the same:
The Red Hen restaurant in Washington, D.C., which sits in an upscale neighborhood of the nation’s capital, attempted to clarify it had no connection to the controversy involving Sanders, tweeting Saturday that she had gone to an unaffiliated Red Hen, “not to our DC-based restaurant.”
More than 4,300 replied, including multiple tweets calling on the restaurant to condone Sanders and the Trump administration’s actions. The Red Hen answered the threats by defining “unaffiliated” as well as an explanation.
On Yelp, the backlash included one-star reviews and death threats. Conversely, one user asked if the restaurant was connected to the one that declined to serve Sanders, saying if so, they’d “stop by.”
Beyond social media, the restaurant was also egged.
Another Red Hen restaurant, this one in Swedesboro, New Jersey, also faced a slew of angry calls and social media posts for refusing to serve a woman who’d never stepped through their door.
“Kindly check your facts before you erroneously defame an innocent victim on Facebook,” said a post on the family-owned restaurant’s Facebook page.
This is all on Stephanie Wilkinson. The owners of those other Red Hen restaurants should sue her for such a stupid act that is now tarnishing their reputations, when they actually understand how customer service works and would never do such a moronic thing.
And it’s all because she forgot, or never knew, that you don’t mix business with politics. And you certainly don’t refuse to serve someone because of who they are.
Now I can hear some of you firing up your keyboards to call me a “hypocrite” because I defended Jack Phillips’s right not to bake a gay wedding cake. You’re going to tell me it’s the same thing.
No it’s not.
For one thing, Jack Phillips was willing to sell them a cake off the shelf. He just wasn’t willing to create a cake designed to celebrate gay marriage, because that would violate his beliefs.
For another thing, he never asked the gay couple to leave and passed no judgment about them as people.
For another thing, he made it clear he would have been happy to bake them a birthday cake or any other kind of cake.
And for another thing, Sarah Sanders didn’t ask the staff at the Red Hen to do anything they wouldn’t do for any other customer. She was kicked out not because of what she ordered or because of anything she did, but simply because of who she works for.
None of this should ever have happened, and because it did a whole bunch of other restaurant owners are now paying a price. Stephanie Wilkinson is a disgrace.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!