Wheelchair = No Service

Preston Craig, local dj and founder of the Decatur Social Club, wrote a disturbing post on kissatlanta.com regarding his recent dining experience at the historic Majestic Diner in Poncey-Highland.

The post, titled I’m The Nigger Of The New Millenium, recounted his experience:

After a good while of being there one of the owners, an old Greek man, starts yelling at me telling me my wheelchair isn’t allowed in the main dining area. We’re all quite taken aback and try to explain that I can’t fit anywhere else in the diner. The old man continues ranting threatening to call the cops (?!?!). So, I called them for him. The argument went on for a good half hour. The cops arrived and, as I expected, said there was nothing they could really do on either side. I left and swore to never return.

But return he did, and unfortunately encountered the same experience:

A waitress was outside smoking and we asked if she could open the side door. She did… we sat down and ordered and everything was wonderful. Until, the old greek man came out from kitchen. Without warning he begins yelling at me. “Who opened the door?! Why are you in here?! You get out!!” and on and on and on. Everyone in the place is looking at us in complete shock. The poor waitress gets reamed out for letting me in. This time I decided to allow him to make an ass of himself. So, I quietly reminded him that I can’t fit through the main isle and that we just wanted to eat and were not bothering anyone. Then, Brian and I did our best to ignore him and discussed how ridiculous the situation was with the waitress who let us in. Ironically, she mentioned she was once in a wheelchair and that the old man’s reaction made little sense. We finished our food… tipped the waitress nearly 100% for the trouble… and then were yelled at by what I’m guessing was security for leaving out the only door I could exit from.

Many restaurants quote their right to refuse service to any patron, but this is obviously crossing the line. What’s even more disturbing about this is that the police either can’t or won’t enforce people’s civil right to dine.

6 Comments so far

  1. Shelby (unregistered) on December 31st, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

    Wow, that’s just plain disturbing. Tasso, the owner’s son and general manager of the joint, has always been the consummate host. He remembers your name, keeps your coffee filled and makes sure everyone’s seated and comfortable. I can’t imagine he’s cool with what sounds like his pop going on a bender or off his meds. Freaking weird.

  2. Mack (unregistered) on January 2nd, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    I do not know this Tasso of which you speak, but I have been boycotting that place for a while now. The last time I went wasn’t the first time I was treated like shit there, but I promise you it was the last. The food is mediocre and overpriced anyway. I encourage everyone to boycott the Majestic.

  3. paul (unregistered) on January 7th, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

    I was working at the majestic. when this situation took place. Preston was not the quiet victim so much as the insolent rich kid talking out of line to a hard working respectable man.
    The waitress, a new girl who was unaware of the policy was not “reamed out”, she was simply informed of the policy by myself and then later by the owner, who is very understanding of his staff, even if he is upset over a disrespectful patron making false acusations and asking for special priveleges.
    Preston’s companion Brian must not be boycotting our establishment, because he left our restaraunt smiling last night as he waved good buy to us sometime around 4am or so.
    I’ve seen Preston at rock clubs and parties before. He goes to alot of my roomates gigs. he can’t be that unfortunate if he gets to get drunk and go out all the time. He can’t be that unfortunate if he can make a night out of dropping by a restaraunt that he’s been banned from on his way back from the Decatur Social Club.
    Believe me, this guy is not Rosa Parks.

  4. Preston Craig (unregistered) on January 7th, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    Whoa… insolent rich kid? I’m 30 years old… and what money I have (trust me it’s not as much as you seem to think) I’ve made under my own power. Thanks for judging me by my clothes and my wheelchair (i just got your personal e-mail where you even mentioned how expensive my chair must have been… “I bet that chair cost someone alot of money. If i were to lose the use of my legs, I would not have a ride like yours. You should cheer up. Life’s not so bad.”). Actually if you lost your legs tomorrow medic-aid/care would probably get you one a bit nicer. The one I’m in now is over 10 years old and not all that special.

    I’m sorry I managed to get a good job after college (which my parents didn’t pay for). I’m sorry I have medical insurance. Are we even now?

    Second, I’ve never referred to myself as unfortunate.

    Third, I don’t remember mouthing off at all. I didn’t curse, I didn’t yell, if anyone got loud or upset it was Brian… and even he was just reacting to being jumped on. If he continues going to the Majestic… that’s his deal. I mean in the long run what happens to me doesn’t affect him and when you want food at 4am and your friends are already there… personal over politics usually takes the priority.

    Tell me Paul… ok so there’s one booth at the front of the restaurant that’s available for someone in a wheelchair. If it’s available. What if two people in wheelchairs show up? I know that’s hard to concieve. Or let’s say a wheelchair and a really obese person. Or someone with walking difficulty that can’t negotiate the narrow front path. The ADA was passed nearly 16 years ago. Sixteen years. In that 16 years you’re telling me the Majestic couldn’t find the time, money, or even the will to make their establishment anymore accessible than allowing the first booth?

    You’re right… I apparently expect far too much.

  5. john (unregistered) on January 8th, 2006 @ 12:36 pm

    If I don’t like a place, I don’t go there. Peace.

  6. Amy Sewell (unregistered) on January 9th, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

    It’s laughable that Preston asking for the ability to be able to enter and patronize the Majestic Diner by opening a side door is considered a “special privledge.” As another wheelchair bound Atlantan, I am not at all surprised.

    In the past Preston has advised me and spoken up for before when I was being discriminated against. It really is a disturbing fact that many Atlanta businesses share the same attitude that Paul does. I guess if we aren’t rolling around in rags we shoudl just shut up and be glad we get to leave the house at all.

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