Entertainment And News

Restaurant Shuts Down For ‘A Day Of Kindness’ After Staff Cries Over Rude Customers

Photo: Facebook 
Cape cod, restaurant, staff

Working in customer service is often a challenging job and one that requires a lot of patience. They have to deal with many difficult or angry customers, all while maintaining their composure and professionalism. 

Although sometimes the job can get extremely overwhelming and even the strongest in customer service reach their breaking points. 

After staff at a Cape Cod restaurant endured endless verbal abuse from customers, the restaurant managers decided to take action that would encourage people to have grace on customer service workers. 

RELATED: After A Baker Called Out Her 'Worst' Customer Who Complained About Her $84 Rainbow Cake, The Customer Had The Best Retaliation

The restaurant shut down to give their staff ‘a day of kindness’ after insults from customers had made them cry. 

Apt Cape is a farm-to-table restaurant located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It attracts customers from all around the area with its American dishes for breakfast and lunch and its picturesque outdoor seating area. 

Like other restaurants, the establishment was forced to temporarily close down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained closed until all restaurants were allowed by the Massachusetts government to fully reopen on May 29, 2021. As the staff adjusted to their grand reopening, they had to deal with food and staffing shortages, which meant unruly customers. 

Brandi Felt Castellano, the restaurant’s co-owner revealed to The New York Times that she is aware that people are often rude to restaurant workers, but what she and her staff experienced following the reopening of Apt Cod after the pandemic far exceeded anything she had seen in her 20 years in the business. 

The 24 staff members, which included Felt’s two children, were subjected to insults, yelling, and over-the-top rude comments from customers almost on a daily, including a group of diners who threatened to sue the restaurant after they were not seated at their desired table. The verbal abuse led to some staff members being reduced to tears. 

RELATED: Customer Service Worker Details The Hilarious Ways She Manipulates Rude Customers Who Won't Take 'No' For An Answer

Felt claims that the final straw was when a customer “lashed out” at one of their younger employees after they told him that they could not take his breakfast order since the restaurant hadn’t opened yet. That’s when Felt and her wife, Regina, who is the co-owner and head chef, announced on Facebook that they would not be opening the restaurant to allow their employees to have “a day of kindness.” 

An "astronomical influx" of customers had been screaming at employees, threatening to sue, arguing, yelling, and making team members cry, the owners explained in their post. “This is an unacceptable way to treat any human. We will be open again for breakfast tomorrow morning,” they announced. “Please remember that many of my staff are young, this is their first job or summer job to help pay for college.” 

They added that they are doing their best to accommodate all of the changes and they were “not trying to ruin anyone’s vacation or day off.” 

Felt called on those dining at restaurants post-pandemic to demonstrate kindness and empathy toward one another since not everyone had that privilege anymore. "Many of us didn't survive the pandemic. For people to be this aggressive towards the ones that have is disheartening,” she said.

RELATED: Server Complained That She Only Got A $10 Tip From A Table Of 21, But Wound Up Making Thousands More

Felt’s message resonated with other restaurants in the area, who thanked her and her wife for saying what they have all wanted to for so long. 

Rude customers have gotten so out of hand post-pandemic that even bigger corporations had to step in to intervene. The Rhode Island Hospitality Association launched a Please Be Kind Toolkit for its members, including downloadable posters. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association launched a billboard campaign reminding customers that restaurants were still adjusting to reopening and to have patience with staff. 

Psychologists claimed that the heightened irritability from customers is the result of feelings of uncertainty, confusion, and lack of human engagement following the pandemic. 

“We’re going through a time where physiologically, people’s threat system is at a heightened level,” Psychologist Bernard Golden explained to TIME. “During COVID there has been an increase in anxiety, a reported increase in depression, and an increased demand for mental health services.” 

People often fail to recognize that customer service workers are just as human as we all are, and are also experiencing similar frustrations. Demonstrating kindness toward them goes a long way, and can have a ripple effect, inspiring others to be kind and creating a more compassionate and caring community. 

Ultimately, treating people with kindness is about recognizing and valuing the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and striving to create a world where everyone is treated with the same kindness and respect that we ourselves would want to receive. 

RELATED: Server Says He Kept 'Rude' Customer's Gucci Bag & Versace Sunglasses After She Left It At The Restaurant

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.