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)

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

(Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: Town of Smithers lifts alert for high levels of chlorine in water

Residents are advised town water is now safe to use

Garry Merkel has been recognized for his work in culturally appropriate Indigenous education with an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Tahltan educator recognized with honorary doctorate from UBC

Garry Merkel has dedicated his life to improving Indigenous educational outcomes

Gareth Manderson, general manager BC Works, and Bandstra’s Zach Runions and Steve Collins. Photo supplied
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read