A 290 lbs man is suing fast food chain White Castle for refusing to enlarge their booths, according to the New York Post.
From the article:
“They’re stationary booths,” he told The Post. “I’m not humongous, [but] I’m a big guy. I could not wedge myself in.”
“As I looked around the restaurant, I saw that there were no tables and chairs that could accommodate a person that merely wanted to sit down and eat his meal,” Kessman wrote.
Kessman claims he has no problem finding a place to take a load off at other fast-food places, and fits easily into airline seats.
The Rockland County man says the chain’s uncomfortable booths violate the civil rights of fat people.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is “applicable, not only to me, but to pregnant women and to handicapped people,” he said.
“I just want to sit down like a normal person,” said Kessman, who is suing for bigger chairs and unspecified damages.
I am of two minds about this. My knee-jerk reaction is two fold: a) JFC, enough with litigious America and b) disability? Really?
Here’s the thing: I do not think of myself as disabled. I don’t think of my fellow fat & obese friends as disabled. As victims. To be pitied. (I also generally don’t compare obesity to pregnancy or being handicapped, but oh well) Yes, there are obese individuals who are handicapped by their weight. They can be and are discriminated against and should be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. But the average overweight/obese person? Not really disabled, IMO…
Does it really violate my civil rights that I don’t fit into a plastic booth manufactured decades ago?
I don’t think of a 290 lbs guy with a big beer gut not being able to sidle into a booth at White Castle as disabled, or discriminated against. If you click on the article and look at the picture, you can tell what kind of booths they are — some of the old school booth installations in an old fast food restaurant. I’ve been in those booths before. Yes, they are uncomfortable — I’ve banged my knee before, too! It’s not because I’m fat, though. It’s because I’m TALL and these booths were manufactured when people were a lot shorter (and, yes, less rotund, on average).
And I’m sorry, but he describes being humiliated because he hit his knee and couldn’t fit, so he refused to go back? Really? That’s just being overly dramatic and sensitive, if you ask me.
Would it be nice if White Castle reinstalled their booths? Yes. Should they have to? No. Could this man have asked for a bloody chair? Yes. Is this lawsuit over the top and a bit ridiculous. Yes.
What do you think?
Personally, I’m uncomfortable with being told that, as a fat person, I have a disability. I think that further stigmatizes fat as bad, fat people as victims and being fat as something to be pitied. This man wasn’t involved in an incident where someone demonized him for being fat — the company didn’t do anything to him. I don’t think a piece of hard plastic can violate your civil rights, IMO. But I recognize that this is my personal opinion, as a no-longer-that-fat person. So.
(also, I really hate the NY Post headline)