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"Madder Than Fish Grease"

Updated on May 10, 2011

Should White Castle have allowed Ariel Wade to use the drive thru?

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No Auto No Service

Today in the news I heard about a lawsuit that may be brought against the White Castle fast food chain. Apparently, Ariel Wade, a disabled woman (she has degenerative arthritis in her back) from St. Paul, Minnesota, was hoping to get a late night snack from her local White Castle, but was turned away at the drive thru window because she was using her mobile scooter. As is the policy at most fast food chains, it is illegal for pedestrians to use the White Castle drive thru as it is a major safety hazard. Being that the restaurant’s dining room had closed hours before, she believed she had no other recourse, but to go through the drive thru. Claiming that she had used their drive thru before without issue, she believes she was discriminated against. On that same night, she was sold food, but told not to return by the neighboring McDonalds for the same reason. At press time, she was contemplating filing a lawsuit against McDonalds too. She believes these restaurants are treating customers like her unethically and are discriminating against non drivers. To quote Ms. Wade she is, “madder than fish grease” and believes that the ability for anyone to buy fast food at any time of the day or night is a right that shouldn’t be taken away.

As an able bodied person, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for disabled people to navigate in an often unaccommodating world. Far too many restaurants, shops and even doctor’s offices don’t have ramps and elevators to allow disabled people access to them. It is a wrong and definite problem that needs to be dealt with. However, I think fast food restaurants are justified in denying pedestrians the right to use the drive thru. For anyone who has used a drive thru, you know that cars come in unexpectedly and fast. To get their point across that they want their food immediately, some drivers inch their cars so close to other cars that the bumpers are kissing. Though Ms. Wade says that the drive thru was empty when she decided to enter it, had a car driven into the White Castle (or McDonalds for that matter) drive thru while she was there, she may have been injured or killed. As a result, she or her family would’ve sued both the driver for hitting her and the fast food chain for not posting a sign large enough so that she would’ve know that she wasn’t supposed to be there. People have a way of forgetting that they are in the wrong when money is at stake.

Yet, for Ms. Wade and others like her to be denied food is wrong. While pedestrians should not use the drive thru, there should be an alternative to simply going without. These chains should have a window where people can walk up and order food that is no where near the drive thru. Yes, it would require more staff to be hired and some definite planning. However, to avoid law suits like the one that Ms. Wade may be filing would be worth the extra money.

To date, Ms. Wade has been given free food vouchers from White Castle and an apology. Still, she says that she will not be bought off and plans on pursuing this further. As someone who has written into restaurants to complain about service more than once, I respect her for not giving in so easily. Chains in particular believe that anyone can be hushed up if they are given free food and need to be held accountable for hiring the wrong people. However, as I said before, I believe White Castle was right in denying her service. For the safety of both pedestrian and driving customers, until an alternative can be realized, the drive thru should only be for legal vehicles. Nobody wants to kill someone or be killed themselves while getting a late night burger.


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    • LowellWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      L.A. Walsh 

      9 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Thank you for adding more to the discussion, Dori. Good points! :o)

    • fortunerep profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      I would mail them a copy of the ADA act. I work with a handicapped individual, although I would never recommend this, I can understand her frustration. I don't think she has much of a case although the ADA may support her. It should be common sense not to go thru a drivethru on a scooter. She will probably end up with an out of court settlement or taking it for all it is worth, but common sense has to play a role in this. We are responsible for our actions, although the ADA states that it is the governments problem.


    • LowellWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      L.A. Walsh 

      9 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Frieda, I've always defined a scooter as something that moves slightly faster than a motorized wheelchair. It's meant to aid someone who can't move, but not to replace a car and other legal vehicles. For me, I don't see a problem with motorcycles being allowed in the drive thru because they move faster, are easier to spot and hear and the rider more than often than not is wearing a helmet. In short, you need training and a license to drive a motorcycle. Anyone can get a scooter like Ms. Wade's. Thank you for you comment! :o)

      Maggs, thank you for your comment. You always know how to make my day. :o)

    • maggs224 profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      You do manage to come up with some really interesting hub topics another well written and thought provoking hub.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I don't see the difference between a scooter and a motorcycle, but I do know the rules, and if I can't walk up, I don't see why she should be able to scoot up. It's not discrimination, it's called rules that need to be followed. Great topic, LowellWriter.

    • LowellWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      L.A. Walsh 

      9 years ago from Lowell, MA

      I agree with you completely. Though it would be nice to accommodate everyone, safety will always outweigh necessity. All too often we forget this. Thank you for your comment, Scott! :o)

    • puppascott profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

      I have to read anything with White Castle in the description.

      These types of lawsuits are making this country weak. Yes, we should do our best to accomodate those with handicaps, but it should not be our responsibility to cater to every need that someone has; that's why we have mothers. Where does it end? An issue of safety is one thing, but inconvenience is altogether different. Do architects and engineers need to watch the birth announcements so when somebody is born with six arms they will have enough time to design a three tier, three basin sink and retrofit every building just in case this person decides to visit a business in the future?

      Enough is enough. We get the point. I wish I could sue someone every time I am inconvenienced or treated unfairly. Unfortunately I don't have a doctor's note to fall back on.

      Good read. I'm going to take an aspirin now.


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