Rachel Bruno wanted to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy treatment. So, she and her family planned to have dinner at a restaurant named Latitude 360 in Indianapolis, IN. However, their big moment was overshadowed when Bruno was not allowed to enter the restaurant. The 33-year-old woman, who lost her hair while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, explained that she regularly wears a knitted cap to keep her head warm.
“Having a bald head from chemo, you kinda want to keep it warm and not let too much air get to it so you don’t get sick,” Bruno explained. “When I’m out in public, I do keep my head covered because, and I don’t mind showing it, I’m pretty bald thanks to chemotherapy. But I keep my head covered just because I don’t want to get cold. And the last thing a cancer patient wants, especially going through chemotherapy, you have a compromised immune system, you don’t want to end up with a cold or pneumonia,” she said.
— RTV6 Indianapolis (@rtv6) April 9, 2015
However, the restaurant adamantly refused to allow her into the restaurant citing a dress code violation. According to ABC-7, the restaurant’s dress code prohibits patrons from wearing head garments such as “skullcaps, bandanas, brimless hats and stocking caps.” During her recent news interview with WRTV, she and her sister, Alicia Murray, shared details about the humiliating incident and how the restaurant employees asked Bruno to leave. Needless to say, the were both devastated by the restaurant’s embarrassing request.
“I was like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Give me your keys, I have to go.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘Well, they said I can’t be in here with this hat on my head. And so I said, ‘Well sir, she has cancer.’ He was like, ‘Well ma’am, it’s a corporate policy,'” said Alicia Murray, Bruno’s sister.
“I was irritated. It was all I could do not to stand there and cry while I was getting the keys from her just to go sit in the car. It was, it’s very embarrassing, still kind of hurts,” Bruno said.
“I was devastated. I was disappointed because at that point, my heart actually hurt for her. Because it’s not her fault that she’s had to deal with cancer a second time. When you try to go outside to have a few moments of enjoyment to try to feel better, and here you are turned away… it’s not fair,” Murray said.
Bruno later decided to voice her frustrations via Facebook. She requested a public apology for the embarrassing mishap. The disheartening story immediately caught the attention of several news outlets, which led to the restaurant’s formal apology. Although the employees insisted they were simply following protocol, the restaurant argues that employees are trained to know when certain dress code violations are acceptable.
Here is the lengthy apology sent to Bruno by Kyle Brown, the restaurant’s director of venue oversight:
“Rachel, I wanted to reach out and sincerely apologize for the way you were treated the other night at our Indianapolis venue. It is unfortunate that our door greeters and managers decided to enforce our dress code under your current condition. They have been spoken to and they know now that in special circumstances like yours that the dress code can be interpreted as to allow special considerations. Please don’t judge our entire company on the actions of a few. We all make poor judgment calls from time to time in our life and a poor judgment call was made with you Rachel. The President of our company and our graphic designer who works 3 doors down from me in Jacksonville have both beat cancer and I realize what they went through. Our company was very supportive and sensitive to their needs and those of their families. Our company has supported many many charitable organizations from cancer to autism to combat veterans. If there is anything I can do to make you feel better, don’t hesitate to call me.”
[Image via WRTV Screen Capture]