Woman offers to buy homeless man lunch; restaurant refuses to serve him food
Business owners may have the right to refuse service to customers, but it doesn’t give them the power to deny service to patrons in a discriminating fashion. This principle was tested when Syann Armienta from Carlsbad, New Mexico passed by the homeless 65-year-old Michael Adams and thought about treating him for lunch last Friday, Feb. 16.
Armienta passed by Adams while she was on her way to the Bamboo Garden Chinese Buffet in Canal Street. Adams lives under the bridge behind the restaurant. Armienta, taking pity on him, offered to bring him to the restaurant for a buffet lunch.
“I figured a buffet would be fitting because it’s all you can eat,” Armienta wrote on her Facebook page last Friday. “Well I ask him to meet me at Bamboo. We walk in and I tell Connie, the owner, that I’d like to pay for his meal.”
Connie, the owner of the buffet restaurant, told Armienta that she can’t pay for Adam’s meal. “She flat out tells me that I CANT do that. That he cannot sit and enjoy his meal in her establishment because he is not showered!!!” Armienta said in disbelief. “I said, so you’re refusing to allow him to eat because he’s homeless and cannot help his hygiene conditions?! SHE TELLS ME YES!! I am seriously flabbergasted!!!”
As Armienta’s tale gained traction, she decided to partner with friend Edith Duarte Tyra to put up a GoFundMe account for Adams and others in need in their town, in hopes of allocating resources to different organizations that deal with the homeless. They also set up a Facebook page (IAmCarlsbad) to continue telling Adams’ story as well as unfold others like his.
Meanwhile, the Bamboo Garden restaurant has since accumulated hundreds of low reviews on their Facebook, with angry netizens bombarding them with one-star ratings. Most of the netizens called out the owner of Bamboo Garden, saying the restaurant does not deserve any recommendation. Some vowed to never step foot in the establishment. Others expressed their disappointment at the restaurant’s alleged blatant disrespect for the homeless man.
Bamboo Garden has refused to comment on the discrimination issue, according to Albuquerque news station KRQE News 13. But representatives of the restaurant maintained they have the right to refuse service, while also stating that they have served Adams many times in the past. JB
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