"Madder Than Fish Grease"
Should White Castle have allowed Ariel Wade to use the drive thru?
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 nowhere near the drive thru. Yes, it would require more staff to be hired and some definite planning. However, to avoid lawsuits 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.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2009 L A Walsh