A Morton’s Steakhouse in Nashville came under fire after its management told a cancer patient to remove his hat inside the restaurant.
Robert Chambers, host of The Coin Vault on Tennessee’s Shop at Home network, was attending an office party at the restaurant when his head began to feel cold as a side effect of his recent chemotherapy. He put on a beanie, which the restaurant said was a violation of its dress code. However, hats are not mentioned in the dress code, which recommends “business attire or smart casual wear” and says “a collared shirt and dress pants are appropriate” for men.
“The chemo I had last gives me a cold sensitivity at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done, there’s a certain point.” Chambers told NashvilleScene.com. “So I’m sitting there at the table, freezing and I put my toboggan on. We’re two or three minutes away from walking out and the manager comes up behind me and says, ‘Would you please take that off in the dining room.’ I said, ‘Sure.’”
Other members of Chambers’ party tried to explain that he had a medical condition.
“The manager says, ‘If you had made prior arrangements, we could have put you in a private room and he could have worn it. Or you could bring a doctor’s note and you could wear it,’ which I think is kind of a smarta** answer because nowhere on Morton’s policy does it say if you’ve got a doctor’s note you can wear a hat in the restaurant,” Chambers said.
The group — including Chambers’ wife and son — got upset and began arguing with the staff. Chambers said the manager tried to involve local police as the party was leaving.
“We’re in the process of leaving, and there’s a police precinct nearby,” Chambers said. “They were out on the sidewalk and we had valeted our car. They told us to just go on and not worry about it. [The manager] ran down the sidewalk trying to hustle the police into the situation.”
Robert Chambers said the restaurant’s COO and senior vice president of operations, Tim Whitlock, reached out to him Monday and said he was “going to make happen an apology from the two managers.” Whitlock also said he would donate the balance of the group’s check to St. Jude’s Hospital.
Tim Whitlock confirmed the conversation with Chambers and the donation on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Whitlock also said the restaurant will partner with Chambers to underwrite a cancer fundraiser.
Robert Chambers confirmed on his Facebook page that he accepted the company’s apology and said he has “more important things to fight than Morton’s.”
[Photo credit: Bob B. Brown / Flickr]