Posts Tagged ‘#Decency’

#WalkingBoston – A Marathon in every Boston Neighborhood: East Boston Part 1

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 08/12/2022

Thank you for stopping by. A great place to learn the background story and inspiration for #WalkingBoston is this blog post.

The inaugural walk is on Tuesday, 8/16 leaving from the Wood Island T stop on the Blue Line at 7am. All are welcome to join. We will meet on the Bennington Street side at the bus circle. (Stay tuned to Twitter @PatrickMBoston for rescheduling if heavy rain is expected.)

[Post-walk summary and reflections can be found at the end of this blog post.]

The first walk will cover a minimum of 13.1 miles (half marathon) covering half of Eastie from Wood Island to Suffolk Downs, and from Constitution Beach to Chelsea River. The territory on the upper right side of the black line on this map will be covered:

As you can see from the map, Eastie resembles an hourglass shape with Wood Island T stop pretty close to the middle. Please email me if you have suggestions of ‘can’t miss’ hidden gems in that area that I need to see and chronicle. The same applies to all other Boston neighborhoods. [Thank you, Peter Campbell. I’ve got you covered in Hyde Park, brother.]

The first 2 non-profit beneficiaries have been finalized:

#1- Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. As most of you know, the mission of Make-A-Wish is to create life‐changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. I love the work that they do and am honored to partner with them. Thanks to Hillary Muntz for her professionalism and attention to detail. Please consider a donation inspired by #WalkingBoston by clicking on this link.

#2- Stride for Stride is also a beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners – the goal is to make races more accessible, inclusive, and diverse for everyone. Stride for Stride founder, Tom OKeefe, aka @BostonTweet, “Our logo signifies equality. It’s simple, bold, and shows that you support running for all. Our goal is a simple concept too, but one that changes lives. Having a race to strive for keeps you focused and healthy, while crossing the finish line is pure joy and empowering in both sport and life – it proves that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Never give up!” Donations inspired by #WalkingBoston can be made to Stride for Stride by clicking here.

#3- Several folks have reached out asking how they could sponsor/support my #WalkingBoston project and expedite the publication of my Server Not Servant book. A grassroots fundraiser of small donations has been set up to keep me walking and writing. Donations can be made here.

#4- Additional, local beneficiaries may be added if they can provide a dedicated link for donations inspired by #WalkingBoston. Please email patrick@servernotservant.com for consideration.

CBS Boston WBZ interview 8/12/22:

BOSTON — An author is kicking off an ambitious journey to walk every neighborhood in Boston. Patrick Maguire said the walks will raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Stride for Stride. 

He’s partially inspired by the pandemic to get up and outside, to learn more about the city and its iconic neighborhoods.   

“I want to rekindle relationships with everyone that I’ve promised to meet up and have a cup of coffee (I’m a tea drinker) but a cup of coffee or a drink. And walking is one of the best ways to reconnect with old friends and I hope to meet some new friends along the way in the neighborhoods of Boston. It’s getting me away from the computer and it’s a fresh start,” Maguire said. 

Thanks to everyone for your support and for following the #WalkingBoston journey. I hope to see you on the road.

Cheers-Patrick

#WalkingBoston anthem, People Have the Power by Patti Smith

 

Post ‘Eastie Part 1’ Walk Update, 8/22/22:

On Monday, 8/15, I met with personal trainer, Katie at BSC Boylston just outside of Copley Square for a free InBody Scan included in my membership. I’ll spare you the details, but will report my starting weight (197.6) as a measure of accountability, progress, and goals (185lbs). Thank you, Katie.

To map the course of the walks and confirm distance, I’m using MapMyWalk and All Trails apps. I’ve also ordered a Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch 5 as a 3rd way to verify distance and map the walks. One of my biggest concerns is losing the data of each walk and not being able to report and verify the course. Using 2 apps and having an independent (of my phone) GPS and tracking device should alleviate this concern.

Eastie 1 Maps:

Please click on the highlighted links below.

MapMyWalk  Distance = 13.88 miles

AllTrails  Distance = 14.3 miles

I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy between the 2 apps – I started them at the same time, paused and restarted them simultaneously at lunch. I’ll use the lesser of the 2 as official total distance moving forward.

Google Photo Album: I encourage you to view the 144 pics and videos in chronological order of the adventure from home (5:16am) to St. Mary’s T at the Green C Line, to Wood Island on the Blue Line as the starting point. This was a solo walk.

Summary, observations, and reflections:

  • Not much continuous sleep the night before Walk 1. Despite planning this for years, Game Day anxiety prevailed. No problem getting up at 4:30ish. Mind racing. Adrenaline coursing.
  • Cereal consumed and detailed checklist studied before leaving the house. (I’ll post pics of the checklist after converting it to a WORD doc.)
  • 66 degrees when I left the house.
  • Not a long wait at the St. Mary’s T stop near my house. Big relief based on all of the recent problems with the T.
  • Very happy to see the Dunkin’ open early with a short line at Government Center to get a cup of tea for the Blue Line ride to Wood Island.
  • Extreme times of the day have a tendency to bring out kindness and comradery in (many) humans because of a shared, unique experience. This morning at 6:02am, 2 people in line in front of me quietly gave a woman asking a dollar – I felt compelled to follow their good lead/example.
  • The woman working at Dunkin’ gets up at 4:10am every morning and she was very pleasant, but not annoyingly perky.
  • Loved catching the crossing guard and kid share a spontaneous hug while a gaggle of students crossed the street on the way to school.
  • Had a nice connection with a woman after she walked her kids to the Brooke School and kissed them goodbye. Listening to her kids ‘challenging’ her as she walked away, I said, “It’s not easy.” She replied, “No, it isn’t.” I told her my Mom had 10 and she told me her grandmother had 14!!
  • After the 3-week heat wave, it was cool to see the Zamboni ‘snow’ outside of the skating rink.
  • Warm sun on my face, sitting at the top of the lifeguard station on Constitution Beach, listening to the seagulls and planes taking off across the water at Logan reinforced one of the many reasons why I’m doing this. I never knew this existed and I love this adventure already…
  • Maybe not as many as Revere, but lots of statues and wrought iron railings in Eastie.
  • The breakfast burrito at Mi Pueblito in Orient Heights was very good and 10-year veteran server, Patricia was very hospitable. Thanks to Friends of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants for the recommendation. I’m surprised they’re open for breakfast. I was the only person there at 8:34. Looking forward to going back for dinner.
  • The planes taking off over residential Eastie are REALLY loud, but similar to trains rattling by, I suppose one gets used to it in time.
  • Pretty wild seeing huge corn stalks growing in a front yard in Orient Heights.
  • Lots on triple-deckers, as anticipated. And tchotchkes, lots of them in front yards…
  • I was very tempted by fried clams at Belle Isle Seafood, but this day was dedicated to Eastie.
  • Swan Street is a very cool, private mini neighborhood in Belle Isle.
  • Loved meeting Barbara out picking up litter. Further proof that we’ll share lots with strangers like cab drivers, often more than we will with family and friends. Barbara is #GoodPeople.
  • I was blown away by the Madonna Shrine and view from the railing. Please watch the video. It’s incredible.
  • Loved meeting Kristen, a veteran teacher at Bradley Elementary School. She was unloading her car prepping her classroom for the new year and very optimistic with less restrictions from the plague. SO many teachers use their own money for supplies. And many teachers are grossly underpaid. Hoping for a safe, productive, fun year for Kristen and all teachers and students.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the steak & cheese for a late lunch at Sammy Carlo’s. Old school.
  • Finished the walk very much ‘alive,’ inspired, and rejuvenated. Only 1 walk in the books, and I can’t wait for #2.

Alan Miller, assignment desk manager for 7 News-WHDH emailed me on the morning of Walk #1 asking for an interview. Trung Dang met up with me on the road mid-afternoon. Great guy. Hard worker. Thanks to Alan, Trung, Kim Khazei, and Adam Williams for covering #WalkingBoston. Video here. Thanks to the T driver in the video for the cold bottle of water. It was wonderful to meet and talk with her and her daughter.

Despite the attention/’traction’ that the walk received, a major challenge ahead is inspiring donations to Make-A-Wish MA & RI and Stride for Stride. I’m going to make a concerted effort to reach out to businesses to pledge minimum donations tied to the total number of miles walked. There are a lot of creative ways that walk sponsors can get involved, including matching pledges, grant money, and product & brand endorsement. I’d love to hear from everyone who wants to be part of supporting #WalkingBoston and non-profit partners. Email: patrick@servernotservant.com.

Please subscribe to future blog posts for scheduling of upcoming walks by entering your email in the blue box on the upper left side of this post. Twitter and IG: @PatrickMBoston

Grass-roots donations to support #WalkingBoston and keep me walking and writing can be made here.

Thank you-Patrick

Here’s a glimpse of a few pics from Eastie Part 1:

 

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | No Comments »


‘Greed is Good,’ right, John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO & Jeff Bezos, Amazon Chairman? 9+ year veteran, 72-year-old employee denied severance after Whole Foods in Brookline, MA abruptly closes. #DoTheRightThing #PayTheSeverance

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 06/25/2022

Early on Friday morning, April 29, I walked over to ‘The (St. Mary’s) Village’ to visit Whole Foods, an almost daily ritual. Immediately upon entry, a worker came over and whispered, “Hey, they just told us the store is closing.” A regional VP had gathered the staff and informed them moments before that May 6th was the last day. The landlord was informed the same day. The staff was told that even long-time, veteran employees would have to reapply for jobs at other WF stores, and more details were forthcoming from HR. Naturally, I tweeted:

The next day, everything in the store was sold at 50% off. Despite the rabid frenzy (shitshow), there was no ‘hazard pay’ for the staff. And after the store was picked clean over the weekend, they shut down for good on Monday, May 2nd, 4 days ahead of schedule…

After first hearing the news, I walked the aisles of the store on Friday–the abrupt closure was raw, still being absorbed the staff. The emotion in their eyes, and tears on the familiar faces of several people I had come to know, precipitated a very anxious and somber mood.

Whole Foods issued a statement quoted in an article in the Boston Globe on April 29 by Annie Probert:

“As we continue to position Whole Foods Market for long-term success, we regularly evaluate the performance and growth potential of each of our stores, and we have made the difficult decision to close six stores,” a statement from the company read. “We are supporting impacted team members through this transition and expect that all interested, eligible team members will find positions at our other locations.”

One of the staff members I often chatted with was Ken Scales. Ken often saw me with an elderly (sometimes feisty/demanding) neighbor he took a liking to. “How’s our girl?” he’d ask when he didn’t see her as the plague raged. Despite his cordial engagement, Ken was a quiet, shy guy, head down, and conscientious, steady worker.

According to Sean P. Murphy for the Boston Globe on June 22, Ken (part-time employee) said “he didn’t realize he would forfeit a payout by agreeing to work through June at another location.” And he did, at the Whole Foods Symphony/’Fenway’ location.

From the Globe piece:

At age 72, Scales said he still needed to work to pay the bills, so he moved to a similar position at another Whole Foods store a few miles away.

But then some friends suggested he had made a mistake. They told him he should have left his position at Whole Foods and taken the $11,000 in severance pay that he was owed after almost 10 years on the job, Scales said.

Stocking shelves pays about $20 an hour. At that rate of pay, the severance package he had been offered was the equivalent of about six months of pay. For the first time in his adult life, Scales could have enjoyed an extended period of time off without losing income.

Plus, because of the high demand for low-wage workers in today’s economy, Scales could have easily found another job for similar pay whenever he wanted, his friends said.

Persuaded he had made a mistake, Scales asked Whole Foods to let him leave his job and take the severance. At that point, Whole Foods had not yet formally eliminated Scales’ Brookline position.

But Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, one of the world’s richest corporations, said no. By accepting a part-time job at another store, Scales had forfeited his right to leave the company with severance pay. The store treated his choice as irrevocable, he said.

Scales said he has been a good, reliable worker. His manager at the Brookline store thought highly enough of him to recommend him to the Whole Foods Market Symphony store in the Fenway, where he wound up.

“I was counting on that severance payment to help me regroup, pay down some bills, and to decide what I want to do next,” he wrote in an appeal for reconsideration to Whole Foods. 

The appeal was denied. I called Whole Foods Symphony/’Fenway’ this morning and spoke to a manager (Matt) informing him that I was writing this blog post, and asked if WF had an updated statement. He referred me to corporate…

[I encourage you to read the entire Globe piece for more detail.]

Globe reporter, Sean P. Murphy adds:

Scales has worked all his life, mostly in unglamorous positions at retail stores. He gets a modest monthly Social Security check and lives in a tiny apartment in Chinatown. He’s not asking for much.

It would be nice if Whole Foods could see its way to giving this guy a break. It’s not too late.

Amen.

I was chatting with a worker a few doors down from the now-closed Whole Foods about the awful PR, negative word-of-mouth/’bad will’ being generated from this story. In addition to the adverse impact on ‘team’ morale of existing employees, he added, “And what about the impact of this story on all of the people thinking about working for Whole Foods or Amazon?!?” Yup, not optimal recruiting material, or consistent with WF stated ‘Long-Term Thinking’ …

From the Whole Foods website:

In addition, Whole Foods has years left on their Brookline, MA lease and is seeking a tenant to sub-lease the space. Their abrupt closure left a significant void in ‘The Village,’ that was already dealing with multiple vacancies on the block. The closure, without a transition plan and replacement grocer, did not sit well with neighboring businesses and residents. This story about a veteran employee has punctuated that rancor.

When I first saw the online story from the Globe on twitter via @markpothier, I responded:

Since then, I’ve reviewed the Whole Foods website and incorporated some of their “Core Values,” “Leadership Principles,” and “Declaration of Interdependence” into a Twitter appeal for Whole Foods to pay the severance for Ken Scales:

That was in response to this tweet from @blueeyedgirl:

“Us versus them.”

Final Thoughts (WF Website):

Our Declaration of Interdependence reflects the hopes and intentions of many people. We do not believe it always accurately portrays the way things currently are at Whole Foods Market so much as the way we would like things to be. It is our dissatisfaction with the current reality, when compared with what is possible, that spurs us toward excellence and toward creating a better person, company and world. When Whole Foods Market fails to measure up to its stated vision, as it inevitably will at times, we should not despair. Rather let us take up the challenge together to bring our reality closer to our vision. The future we will experience tomorrow is created one step at a time today.

John Mackey, Whole Foods and Jeff Bezos, Amazon, take up the challenge, #PayTheSeverance.

If you agree, please help spread the word to your network. Thank you.

PS-Join the battle/challenge on twitter @PatrickMBoston.

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | No Comments »


‘Rules’ of Engagement in Civilized Society Include Restaurants by Dee Wolf-The Lobster Shanty Salem, MA

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 01/19/2022

Today’s guest post by my friend, Dee Wolf, Chef/owner of The Lobster Shanty and Wolf Next Door Coffee in Salem, MA first appeared in my Server Not Servant Facebook Group where it garnered more attention than any other post in the history of the group. As of today, Dee’s post has been shared 350 times, 700 people reacted to it, and 136 humans commented on it. [The FB post cannot be shared any longer because it has been slightly edited.]

Diane is a savvy, seasoned, salty restaurant industry veteran, and clearly her poignant message has resonated with many. I’m reposting here to encourage more people to read and share her message with your networks, including media contacts for publication. The link to this blog post will make her message easier to share.

The more restaurant customers and humans who read Dee’s work, the better…

From Diane ‘Dee’ Wolf:

You don’t need to go out to eat.

You don’t need to sit at a bar and have drinks with friends.

If you want to, then there are some rules that our society needs you to follow. If you want to drink, you must be 21 years old, and we can only serve you during the hours that our liquor license allows. We require guests to be fully dressed, including shoes and a shirt. You can’t misbehave or disrupt other guests. You cannot smoke or vape inside the restaurant or on our patio. When you drive here you can’t just leave your car anywhere, you need to park it in a legal spot, or you’ll get towed or get a ticket. Don’t drive if you’re drinking alcohol. If you bring a dog, she can’t sit inside, and we need proof that she has had a rabies shot.

What I’m saying is, having rules of engagement in any society is nothing new.

We have the legal right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all. But we are not unreasonable, and we welcome you to join us and stay. We want you to stay, we are in the hospitality business – but it is a business and there are laws, rules and societal norms that we all must follow to be part of this community. We take community building seriously.

I didn’t need to buy a restaurant.
I didn’t need to get a liquor license.

But I wanted to – so I had to do a few things; I got TiPS certified, ServSafe Certified, went to culinary school (which required me to be vaccinated for MMR, Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, & Meningitis). I also trained with NEHA (the National Environmental Health Association) and created a HACCP (Hazzard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan to make sure my team handles food safely. I wrote a business plan, took out loans, and sold some personal items for seed money. I applied for a food permit & a liquor license. We had to have a health inspection, plumbing inspection, fire inspection, and building inspection just for our occupancy permit. Can’t just hang a sign, need to go before the Design Review Board for approval first. Want an A-frame sign? Need a special permit for that too. We must file and pay meals tax to the city and to the commonwealth, monthly. I need three or four different kinds of insurance, a payroll service, a trustworthy accountant, pest control, quality food & liquor vendors, trash, recycling, & compost removal. I must arrange for cooking oil recycling and knife sharpening. Clean that grease trap and snake the drains every quarter. Clean the exhaust hood and have the fire suppression system tested regularly. Train my crew, write a menu, buy plates & glassware, decorate the place, maybe get a couple of TVs, pay for cable or a satellite, maybe a jukebox service and an ATM. (Don’t forget to pay the four different musicians unions if you play a radio or have live music) Buy a Point of Sale system, arrange for credit card processing. Maybe secure a line of credit (or bootstrap it like we did). All of this needs to be done before we serve a single burger or pour one beer. The goal is to create a culture and an atmosphere that folks want to go to.

Yeah, you could eat at home – my job is to entice you to come join us and be part of our special community. Do you have to? No. Do I want you to? Yes.

We have done SO MUCH to get this restaurant ready for you, to make it fun, to make it safe – so you can let loose and relax for a while. The least you could do is not give my host pushback for asking you to follow the rules. Rulemaking is well above our pay grade here at our little Mom & Pop restaurant. Anyone who wants to ‘punish’ a local business for following new mandates from the city or commonwealth is shooting themselves in the foot – because all that will be left are big chains of boring food dished out by large, soulless corporations. If you want to live in a thriving, unique community; a community with heart and soul, do your fucking part. We’re tired of arguing with you, we’d just like to get back to hospitality if you don’t mind…

In the comments, Dee added, A handful of folks in cities with new vaccine mandates want to punish restaurants by boycotting them, I find this infuriating and heartless. If you want small, independent restaurants in your community, you need to support them.

Amen, Dee Wolf. Amen ♥

Dee can be reached via email at lobstershanty@gmail.com.

Subscription to these blog posts is currently free by entering your email in the blue box on the upper-left side of this post. To support the mission of the Server Not Servant blog and expedite publishing of the forthcoming book, please click on ‘Support Server Not Servant’ in the blue box on the upper-right side of this post. Venmo: @Patrick-Maguire-32. Please email me about personal or corporate book sponsorship opportunities at patrick@servernotservant.com.

And please consider sharing this post if inspired to do so.

Cheers-Patrick Maguire

#ServerNotServant

Permalink | Posted in Rules of Engagement | No Comments »


Fuck You, #BoycottBoston Boors. #FuckYou

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 01/17/2022

I’ve spent the most of my life living and working in and around Boston. Right now, I’m embarrassed for Boston and the America many of us grew up to (mostly) love and respect. The recent degradation and desecration of Democracy, ‘patriotism,’ and ‘American’ ideals that we have witnessed, and are in the midst of, are absolutely disgraceful.

A friend posted the following on social media on Sunday morning, 1/16/22:

I never turn off comments for Facebook and Twitter posts, but I did today for the posts about the [Boston] vaccine card mandate once I started getting Nazi stuff and other nastiness. I’d like to think we’re better than this as a country but apparently, we’re not.

Oh, and to those saying they’ll try to push their way into restaurants without vaccine proof because “a mandate doesn’t have the same power as a law”? Guess what–they both have the exact same power of enforcement. And again, don’t take it out on restaurants who are already struggling enough as it is.

Seriously, don’t be a dick.

My response on that thread:

100%. ‘We’ are not ‘better than this’ right now in Boston and America. There is a pervasive entitlement under the auspices of ‘freedom,’ and in rejection of ‘tyranny’ that is rampant in our culture. Many of the #FreedomFighters, including the #BoycottBoston tribe, are opportunists seeking any chance they can to desecrate the very democracy that supports their right to do so. It’s like a sport for them. Vaccine mandates, designed to protect workers and customers, are not easy decisions made haphazardly to ‘oppress’ anyone. And they wouldn’t be necessary if the majority of our populous were intelligent and open enough to research, learn, and trust science on their own without incentives or mandates for the greater good. Self-preservation is a strong motivator, and critical thinking is nearly extinct. And anyone or anything who threatens cultist’s long-ago, established ‘worldview’ will be subject to hateful, vitriolic, and sometimes violent attacks. ‘Different’ will always be a hated enemy to them because it makes them uncomfortable. And thoughtful, 2-way conversation (and potentially changing one’s mind) using meaningful words is too hard and risky for them. Being wrong and vulnerable is a sign of weakness and not an option. Extremists on all ‘sides’ will always be one of our worst enemies in America.

On Saturday, 1/15/22, proof of Covid vaccination, or tiered vaccine mandates went into effect in Boston, Brookline, and Salem, MA with several other cities/towns considering following suit.

From the City of Boston: 

Starting on January 15, 2022, to address rising COVID-19 cases and encourage vaccination, individuals will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter certain indoor spaces in Boston. People working in those locations will also be required to have received their vaccines.

The best way for Boston to stay healthy and support our communities, our businesses, and cultural institutions is for more people to get vaccinated.

Covered businesses are responsible for checking proof of vaccination and posting a notice about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement…

On the days leading up to Saturday, 1/15, several restaurants posted reminders to prospective guests about what would be required for entry.

In response, as predicted, along comes a handful of self-serving, often anonymous, cowardly pack of ‘patriotic,’ assholes attacking restaurants and calling for boycotts of the restaurants communicating what they are required to enforce to operate.

Here’s a sampling:

 

 

The profile from the last tweet states, “…help fight for liberty and religious freedom against totalitarianism and tyranny.” Yup, tyranny… As expected, the engagement on social media became vitriolic and vile. After I supported one restaurant under attack after their facebook post about the mandate, I received this pathetic missive in response:

 

Fuck off, ‘Robyn RM.’

Late last week, on the days leading up to implementation of the vaccine mandate, hateful protesters gathered early in the morning at the private home of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Boston Globe columnist, Yvonne Abraham was spot on in her assessment on why we even bother with idiots…

At the Mayor’s house, a measure of how low people can go

Excerpts from Yvonne’s piece:

It’s often best to avoid giving odious people air time.

There’s little to gain from engaging with the ugliness that passes for political protest these days.

But the ugly protests outside the Roslindale home of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu are impossible to ignore. The folks protesting the city’s vaccine mandates have been particularly nasty, and personal. They have crossed all kinds of lines.

Critics of Wu’s policies requiring all city employees to be vaccinated, and proof of a jab to enter certain businesses in Boston, have laced their arguments with racism and misogyny: One protester’s sign at a recent public event in Mattapan called Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, a “communist [expletive],” and read, “Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Boston.” {Admin edit, where Yvonne used ‘expletive,’ the protestor’s sign said ‘cunt.’}

In Roslindale, the rabid vaccine resisters have shown up early in the morning, making as much noise as they can in an effort to wake not just Wu’s family, it seems, but the entire neighborhood, joking that they’re the mayor’s “alarm clock.” Their presence is all the more jarring in a progressive city like Boston, where Wu was elected in a landslide just a few months ago.

The protesters’ rhetoric mirrors the poisonous, pandemic-prolonging talking points that have infected millions across the country, a rejection of science becoming a kind of perverted patriotism that is integral to conservatism these days. They parade their ignorance even as hospitals are at their breaking point and public health professionals beg for mercy.

The protesters in Roslindale rail against “forced medicine.” The most vocal of them work in public safety, a field in which their refusal to take the most basic precautions should be utterly disqualifying. They proudly post videos of their disruptions. In one clip posted to Twitter on Friday, Wu’s birthday, somebody in the crowd converging on her car kept yelling “Happy birthday, Hitler!”

Earlier last week, my colleague Stephanie Ebbert heard one protestor say something menacing to Wu, a mother devoted to her two young boys.

“You’re not going to be around for your children cause you are going to be held accountable,” the person said.

Even by the standards we’ve come to expect from these protests, which is to say none, that is despicable. There are human beings in that house, including little kids, and Wu’s mother, who has struggled with mental illness. Imagine how terrifying it must be for a kid to have people show up at your home and say such awful things. It wouldn’t be the first time enraged adults have behaved despicably around children in the city, but one would hope we’d grown as Boston grew more welcoming to people of color.

Instead, we seem to have regressed. Threats, veiled and otherwise, are the currency of public discourse these days, from school board meetings in Derry, N.H., to the office of the nation’s top COVID expert, Anthony Fauci.

The targets of anti-vaccine mobs face an impossible choice: Call out the threats, thereby giving them a bigger platform; or ignore them and risk normalizing the behavior, knowing that one in the mob may actually do them harm. Increasingly, those railing about tyranny are doing more than just posturing, a fact last year’s insurrection made plain.

Wu has gone back and forth, struggling with how best to respond to her increasingly hostile critics. In tweets on Saturday, she called out some of the slurs and said: “To have a chance at healing & building community, we can’t keep normalizing hate.”

Every elected official expects to be the target of protests, particularly in this fractious era. And Wu’s critics have the right to express themselves, no matter how wrongheaded their point of view.

But do they have to be this appalling, this cruel? Can we at least agree that the protests should be confined to public settings, and not the homes of elected officials — of either party — who deserve to feel safe where they live?

Or have we lost the capacity for even that basic decency, too?

[If you want to adhere to the notion that there are still intelligent humans reading, digesting, and responding to articles like that, do NOT read the comments. Your ‘faith in humanity’ will not be restored…]

So many of these comments and actions are disgraceful for Boston and America, but this is who ‘we’ really are. The ignorance under the guise of ‘patriotism,’ the ‘victims’ being ‘oppressed’ by ‘tyranny,’ and the #FreedomFighters fighting for their narrow, incendiary, self-serving version of ‘freedom,’ clearly demonstrates how pervasive hate, divisiveness, and extremism is in our culture, and that SO many people would rather ‘die on the hill’ of their long-ago, established ‘worldviews’ than research, study science and facts, learn, admit they were wrong and change their minds. Civilized society has laws, rules, and social contracts, and consequences when they’re not adhered to. Unfortunately, MANY humans, when left to their own discretion, ‘freedom’ of choice to ‘do the right thing,’ for the greater good, never will.  So embarrassed for Boston and America right now. And no, I’m not leaving, but I will keep speaking up.

On twitter, I responded to tweets like those above with the following:

Researching and supporting the efforts of the Independent Restaurant Coalition is the very best course of action that we can take right now to ensure that our favorite, neighborhood restaurants survive. I can’t emphasize enough how critical this is. This absolutely IS life or death for SO many Mom & Pop shops. For many restaurants, business is absolutely awful right now in the dead of the winter in Boston. The very last vestige of hope for many restaurants to survive is replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

There is a Day of Action tomorrow, Tuesday, 1/18/22 at noon that I encourage everyone to participate in and spread the word about.

 

Last night, I experienced the vaccine mandate requirement first-hand at one of my favorite spots, Trina’s Starlight Lounge in Somerville, MA. It’s the first time I’ve been inside anywhere knowing that everyone else in the room was vaccinated to some degree. And it felt very good knowing that…

After getting home last night, I saw this post on my Server Not Servant Facebook Group from my friend, Diane Wolf, chef and owner of The Lobster Shanty and Wolf Next Door Coffee in Salem, MA. The timing of this ‘boots on the ground’ insight couldn’t have been better on the heels of an often contentious, extremely difficult weekend for restaurants in Boston and beyond…

Diane is a savvy, seasoned, salty restaurant industry veteran and ‘good people’ who I have a lot of respect for. This poignant post cuts to the core:

You don’t need to go out to eat.

You don’t need to sit at a bar and have drinks with friends.

If you want to, then there are some rules that our society needs you to follow. If you want to drink, you must be 21 years old, and we can only serve you during the hours that our liquor license allows. We require guests to be fully dressed, including shoes and a shirt. You can’t misbehave, or disrupt other guests. You can’t bring a firearm with you if you’re drinking alcohol. You cannot smoke or vape inside the restaurant or on our patio. When you drive here, you can’t just leave your car anywhere, you need to park it in a legal spot or you’ll get towed. Didn’t feed the meter? You’ll get a ticket. Don’t drive if you’re drinking alcohol. If you bring a dog, she can’t sit inside and we need proof that she has had a rabies shot and she’ll need to remain on a leash. What I’m saying is, having rules of engagement in any society is nothing new.

We have the legal right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all. But we are not unreasonable, and we would like you to stay. We want you to stay, we are in the hospitality business – but it is a business and there are laws, rules and societal norms that we all must follow to be part of this community. We take community building seriously.

I didn’t need to buy a restaurant.
I didn’t need to get a liquor license.

But I wanted to – so I had to do a few things; I got TiPS certified, ServSafe Certified, went to culinary school (which required me to be vaccinated for MMR, Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, & Meningitis). I also trained with NEHA (the National Environmental Health Association) and created a HACCP (Hazzard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan to make sure my team handles food safely. I wrote a business plan, took out loans, and sold some personal items for seed money. I applied for a food permit & a liquor license. We had to have health inspection, a plumbing inspection, a fire inspection, and a building inspection just for our occupancy permit. Can’t just hang a sign, need to go before the Design Review Board for approval first. Want an A-frame sign? Need a special permit for that. We must file and pay meals tax to the city and to the commonwealth, monthly. I need three or four different kinds of insurance, a payroll service, a trustworthy accountant, pest control, quality food & liquor vendors, trash, recycling, & compost removal. I must arrange for cooking oil recycling and knife sharpening. Clean that grease trap and snake the drains every quarter. Clean the exhaust hood and have the fire suppression system tested regularly. Train my crew, write a menu, buy plates & glassware, decorate the place, maybe get a couple of TVs, pay for cable or a satellite, maybe a jukebox service and an ATM. (Don’t forget to pay the four different musicians unions if you play a radio or have live music) Buy a Point of Sale system, arrange for credit card processing. Maybe secure a line of credit (or bootstrap it like we did). All this needs to be done before we serve a single burger or pour one beer. The goal is to create a culture and an atmosphere that folks want to go to.

Yeah, you could eat at home – my job is to make you want to come join us and be part of our special community. Do you have to? No. Do I want you to? Yes.

We have done SO MUCH to get this restaurant ready for you, to make it fun, to make it safe – so you can let loose and relax for a while. The least you could do is not give my host pushback for asking you to follow the rules. Rulemaking is well above our pay grade here at our little mom & pop restaurant. Anyone who wants to ‘punish’ a local business for following new mandates from the city or commonwealth is shooting themselves in the foot – because all that will be left are big chains of boring food dished out by large, soulless corporations. If you want to live in a thriving, unique community; a community with heart and soul, do your fucking part. We’re tired of arguing with you, we’d just like to get back to hospitality if you don’t mind.

Don’t like the rules? Stay home. You don’t need to go out to eat.

In the comments, Diane added, A handful of folks in cities with new vaccine mandates want to punish restaurants by boycotting them, I find this infuriating and heartless. If you want small, independent restaurants in your community, you need to support them.

Amen, Diane Wolf. Amen ♥

Subscription to these blog posts is currently free by entering your email in the blue box on the upper-left side of this post. To support the Server Not Servant blog and expedite publishing of the forthcoming book, please click on ‘Support Server Not Servant’ in the blue box on the upper-right side of this post. Venmo: @Patrick-Maguire-32. Please email me about personal or corporate book sponsorship opportunities at patrick@servernotservant.com.

And please consider sharing this post if inspired to do so.

Thank you-Patrick

Permalink | Posted in Rules of Engagement | No Comments »