On a day out in Sheffield, England, a family decided that they wanted to visit a bar. Before they got settled in, though, the father thought it would be best to ask if his disabled son would be welcome. And the landlord’s response was shocking.
Spending time as a family is very important, and eating and drinking together is often a big part of that. Visiting a local pub in the summer, for instance, is a great way to enjoy an afternoon. And that’s exactly what this family planned to do.
During their day out, which took place in June 2018, the family decided to stop off at a pub. They chose The Barrel in Chapeltown and, with its four-star TripAdvisor rating, you’d perhaps think this family would just assume that the pub would be accommodating.
However, this wasn’t the case. In the past, the father had experienced problems when taking his disabled son out in public. Now, aside from the obvious issues that might arise such as wheelchair accessibility, there was another problem that this family were all too family with.
During previous outings, the father of the disabled boy had had to deal with fellow customers talking about the noises and movements that his disabled son sometimes makes. And on visit to another bar some weeks earlier, they had even been told to vacate the premises because of them.
Even though this sort of treatment might seem uncaring, such complaints are still something that the father has to consider when planning family days out. It’s no surprise, then, that he decided it would be best to check with the landlord before bringing his son into the pub.
And the response that the dad received on this occasion was completely unexpected. The 29-year-old landlord, Steph Tate, replied with a resounding yes when the father asked whether his family would be welcome. But that’s not all.
Not only did Tate say yes, but she also decided to write a Facebook post the next day about her encounter with the father and urged the pub’s social-media followers to share it. Although checking for permission to enter bars and restaurants had apparently become part of everyday life for this father, Tate had been shocked at his question.
And the fact that the father believed it was necessary to ask for Tate’s permission in the first place is what led her to write the post. “It broke my heart that a parent felt they needed to ask if it was ok for his child to be here just like anyone else,” she explained.
The open letter, posted on The Barrel’s Facebook page, details exactly how Tate feels about this matter. And it’s a very emotional read. The Sheffield landlord was eager to let customers know that everyone is welcome at her pub.
Tate explained that she couldn’t get the encounter with the father and his disabled son out of her head. She wrote, “It then got me thinking about how many other people must be in the same position.”
“Whether you need us to get you extension leads to plug specialist equipment in, help moving tables/chairs for wheelchairs or any other help you may need, everyone is welcome in my pub and help will always be offered by all of my staff,” Tate continued. And she had more to say.
“If you’re sat at home with a disabled child, partner or friend and feel on edge about taking them anywhere due to fear of someone making comments, please feel free to bring them here,” Tate added. “If I find anyone making negative comments or being disrespectful, they will be asked to leave not you.”
The kindness showed by this landlord wasn’t only appreciated by the father and his disabled son. Indeed, after sharing the story on Facebook, Tate’s post went viral. To date, it has received close to 5,000 reactions and has been shared almost 2,000 times.
Tate’s emotional Facebook post has also prompted hundreds of comments from users who’ve applauded her viewpoint. For example, Nancy Walczyk Hartnett wrote, “Amazing. If I ever find myself in your town I will be sure to patronize your pub.”
Tate’s shock at the father’s request perhaps becomes less surprising when you consider how much she prides herself on the accessibility of her pub. In fact, there are a number of disabled customers who visit The Barrel, and Tate says she welcomes them all.
Speaking to i in June 2018, Tate described a number of instances when she and her staff have gone the extra mile to make sure that those who have additional needs are catered for. On bingo night, for example, the pub provides braille cards for players who are blind.
Tate went on to describe other steps she’s taken to make her pub as accessible as possible. “There is a family who come in here with a little boy who needs help with breathing and has [specialist equipment] plugged in, so we make sure there’s an area for them to do what they need to do,” she said.
As a result of the post, Tate has received a number of surprise requests from people asking if they can donate money. But she has instead directed them towards Paces, a local charity that supports people who have neurological problems.
Tate’s empathy for the father and his disabled son is a lovely reminder that everyone should feel welcome in public, regardless of any disability. And the landlord’s heartwarming response is certainly worthy of the praise that it has received.