CREDIT: Morton’s Steakhouse Instagram account
Picking on cancer patients is rarely a good idea, a lesson that one Morton’s Steakhouse in Tennessee learned the hard way last week.
On Friday, a group of 16 diners went out to Morton’s in Nashville for a company holiday party. From one diner’s Yelp review, the food was fantastic — “some of the best prosciutto the hubs and I’ve ever had” — and the drinks were delicious — “hello, Secret Garden cocktail”.
However, the merry evening ended abruptly when one of the guests, Robert Chambers, attempted to put on a wool hat to keep warm. Chambers is currently undergoing chemotherapy as part of his cancer treatment and recently lost his hair, leaving him with an increased sensitivity to the cold. According to the account, “When he put on a wool beanie in the restaurant to keep warm, he was immediately asked to remove it” by the restaurant’s assistant manager for apparently violating the dress code, even though it makes no mention of hats.
When Chambers’ family objected to the manager about his treatment, he rebuffed them for not making prior arrangements to obtain a private room so other diners could enjoy their steaks in peace and not be subjected to the indignity of a cancer patient wearing a cap in their presence.
The manager then offered to let Chambers keep his hat on, but only if he could present a note from the doctor justifying his need.
Understandably displeased, the group continued to argue the matter, at which the manager called the police over and asked the party to leave.
After Chambers’ story spread on social media, the corporate offices of Morton’s promised to look into the matter. Eventually, one of the company’s top executives personally phoned Chambers to apologize and pledge to donate the dinner’s $2,000 tab to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as well as coordinate with him about holding a cancer fundraiser.
The company later gave a statement about the matter to The Huffington Post: “There was a complete and total misunderstanding by our staff who had no idea that our guest had a medical condition. Our actions were uninformed and our intentions were not malicious.” They promised to be more accommodating to diners with cancer moving forward.