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  • Linnea Maki

Social Media

One of the things I look forward to every week is date night with my husband. It's nice to have a break from cooking dinner and have a chance to get away from the normal weekly routine. Part of the fun is trying new places. I remember last August, we decided to try a little restaurant that I always pass on my way home from work. After glancing through the google reviews, I thought it sounded like a place we would enjoy.

The restaurant was quaint and rustic. It felt very 1940's with its décor and candle light. It was packed full and of course had a bit of a waiting list being a Friday night. I didn't mind; I was happy to be out, enjoying the conversation and the ambience.

As we sat waiting for a table, I saw a gentleman, probably in his mid 80's, making his way to the front door through the crowded dining room. His wife was behind him, pushing him in his wheelchair. He was smiling, happy and looked very satisfied, holding a box of his leftovers to enjoy later on at home. I remember thinking how nice it was to see this couple having a date night of their own too.

As he passed the restroom, he told his wife that he needed to stop before they left. The entrance was narrow and I could tell that his wheelchair was not going to fit through the doorway. After trying to get him through for several minutes, his wife quickly realized this too. She asked the hostess if there was another restroom that he could use that was wheelchair accessible. She told them he could use the ladies room because the doorway was slightly wider. She continued to walk back to her hostess stand, not offering any assistance at all.

As he left the restroom, his presence had changed. He looked so defeated and embarrassed. It was clear that his night had been ruined. No matter how great his meal was, his experience was tainted by this restaurants inability to accommodate his needs as a person in a wheelchair. I was so heart broken after witnessing what this man had gone through.

I was bothered about it the rest of the night and wondered what I should do. I'm not the type to ever right reviews on places I go, so I weighed the options in my head. Would I have taken the time to write a google review about this restaurant if it was about the wonderful food? Or was I thinking about writing one just because I was mad? What was I hoping to accomplish by writing a review?

This day in age, people use social media as a means of expressing their opinions about people or companies.The fact is, people are more likely to talk about bad experiences/outcomes than good, even if it is justified or not. The internet gives anybody the ability to say something that isn't true without repercussions. Do people believe everything they read? Some do. Unfortunately, people seem to take the word of a bad review over a good one.

I decided that writing a bad google review wouldn't solve anything. Also, it's just not my style. I'm not the kind of person who wants to cause harm or wishes ill will towards others. If I wrote about how upset I was, would I cause people to go out to eat somewhere else instead? What would that accomplish? Do people really feel better about themselves when they try and hurt others?

Instead, I wrote a letter simply stating that the atmosphere and food was great but I was sad to see that they didn't have the accommodations to meet the needs of people in wheelchairs. He was humiliated and I was humiliated for him. The manager might have read it and threw it away, or he could have read it and been thankful that a customer took the time to hand write a letter instead of bashing his business over the internet. I'd like to think that my way was more effective.

You can't make everyone happy, no matter how hard you try. As technology advances, there will be many other ways for internet trolls to attack people or companies. But I believe there are more effective ways of expressing yourself and classier ways than taking to social media.

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