All we can do here is raise the questions. Why did a Taco Bell customer turn a lack of her preferred sauce into a police incident? Why has the internet gone bonkers over the dismissal of a Cracker Barrel employee, even if she had worked there 11 years? And what’s so terrible about having an adults-only restaurant?
Read on for the puzzling details. And email us if you can explain why the dining-out public went a little nuts this month.
The mystery of Brad’s wife
The employee of a Cracker Barrel in Indiana is let go. It’s lamentable, but hardly an extraordinary development in the restaurant business. Yet 24,000 strangers have signed an online petition that demands the chain air its reason for dismissing Nanette Byrd, better known to social media-ites as Brad’s wife.
It’s not as if there’s a suspicion Byrd was scapegoated, victimized by prejudice or otherwise wrongly fired. The petition and other acts of protest are the reaction to a heart-tugging post on Facebook by the woman’s husband, Bradley Reid Byrd.
“To say I’m pissed off would be an understatement. After 11 years, those low lifes at Cracker Barrel let my wife go,” Byrd wrote. “I would really like to know why and those of you who know me these days, know that I WILL find out. In the mean time, if any of you would like to know also, please go to their Facebook page and ask them.”
The responses, though untallied, seemed to run into the thousands.
Yet Cracker Barrel has refused to air its reason, fanning the controversy. Inquisitive minds were left with the vague explanation the chain gave Nanette Bryd—that the situation wasn’t working out.
Cracker Barrel is now being slammed for its silence in social media posts carrying any number of hashtags, including #bradswife, #justiceforbradswife and #bradswifematters. Other outraged netizens have bashed the Corydon, Ind., branch in Google reviews.
Of course, the laws of internet physics require that every action be counterbalanced with an equal and opposite reaction. Chick-fil-A obliged by posting the picture of a sign outside one of its units: Now Hiring Brad’s Wife!
‘This is 9-1-1. What is your sauce emergency?’
Authorities were summoned to a Taco Bell in South Euclid, Ohio, to defuse a hot situation, though not as hot as the involved customer would have liked. The unidentified woman reportedly stopped the drive-thru line and refused to leave because the unit had run out of its Fire sauce, her preferred condiment, and she wanted a 50% discount to assuage her disappointment.
The police coaxed the woman off the line, suggesting she come back the next day, when a manager empowered to give such a discount would be on duty.
‘You have to be this old to eat here’
Theaters, amusement parks, bars, music venues and pool halls all routinely ban customers under a certain age. But if a restaurant does it, a controversy is sure to erupt.
The latest case in point: Caruso’s, an upscale restaurant in Mooresville, N.C., that recently banned children under age 5 from its dining room. The proprietor has explained that he wants to maintain a quiet, relaxed atmosphere to accommodate the fine dining he delivers, and screaming children can undercut that ambience.
Not all prospective customers are happy about the policy. Indeed, comments about the ban seem to outnumber posts on the restaurant’s webpage about the food and service.
Yet the slams seem greatly outnumbered by the compliments customers and interested parties have publicly given the establishment for having the courage to turn away threats to calm and quiet.
“I have said for years that restaurants should have a 'no kids' policy,” Sheri Mongold Hartley told fellow Facebook users. “Honestly I think it should be no kids 10 and under.”