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San Diego's Pokez Gets a Bad Review

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Yesterday we were reading Digg and we saw a post by a gentleman who has an autistic son who was trying to order off the menu when the waitress blew a fuse and shook and mocked the young boy.

The father said that he had written a letter to the local paper, but since we didn't see it posted on line, we contacted him and told him that we would post the letter:

To the editor: Last night, my family went with a local friend to Pokez, a Mexican restaurant near 10th and E in downtown San Diego. I have a high-functioning autistic 12-year-old, who is in school and orders for himself with no problems. We had to wait about 15 min. to order, and the waitress seemed stressed. It was our child's turn to order... he was slow to make up his mind while ordering, and grumpy. The waitress took this as directed at her, and she suddenly snapped. She grabbed his shoulder, shook him, and leaned over and started mocking him, yelling his words back directly in his ear. He asked her to stop, and she grabbed his shoulder and then started screaming in his ear. Screaming that she had had enough and didn't have to work with this. And then she let go, stood up, told the table that she would not serve anyone at the table, and stalked away. He hadn't touched her beforehand... he wasn't even making eye contact, he had been looking at the menu.

We all looked at each other, in shock. After a pause, I got up and went to the manager, behind the register. I politely explained that I had an autistic son, that sometimes he needed a bit of extra time or patience, and did not read body language well. And that his waitress had abused him and refused to serve our table, and that that was unacceptable. I wanted an apology and a different server. But the manager backed up the waitress. He said that she was right, and that if my son was "going to be too much trouble" then we should not let him order for himself in restaurants. That it was our fault for having a child that needed patience or hesitated while ordering, and so we should have ordered for him. And that our party should leave.

Eventually went to another place for dinner. But I was aghast... is this typical of attitudes around here about customers, or the disabled?

Brian Glass

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