27yr old Michael Thacker was killed while doing his job. His friends and colleagues that would be pallbearers spent several hours rehearsing and when they had a break, they did what was natural, they looked for some refreshments at a local bar. They weren’t looking for alcohol, and yet they were denied service. The reason? Michael Thacker died in Afghanistan and his colleagues from the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh were in uniform. The bar claims that this was a policy not serving anyone in uniform, so rather than allowing grieving friends and relatives a brief respite from the terrible sadness of burying a loved one, they were turned away.
What hasn’t been reported is why the bar has such a policy and why the staff blindly stuck to it. A very quick search for the bar’s website pulls up a fairly amateur blog hosted by blogger that seems to concentrate on the food they sell, flea markets they hold as well as events intended to draw people in. It does state ‘Absolutely No Children. Browns is strictly over 18’s only.’ but there seems to be no mention of any other policy.
If someone is not a regular at a bar, unless the policy is plastered on the front of the building, there simply isn’t a way to know before entering the premises. Chances are if someone is stationed in Afghanistan they are not a regular in a bar in Coventry, England so how were the soldiers to know that they would not get served?
There has been no mention of why this particular policy is in place. If it is to avoid trouble, perhaps there had been issues in the past with someone in uniform, it is a poorly thought out effort. If the availability of service is dependant on what someone is wearing, and not the person themselves, then what is to stop known troublemakers from simply not wearing a uniform that day to gain entry to the bar and then cause trouble?
There are bars and pubs in the United Kingdom that does have bans on patrons wearing clothing related to sports teams to avoid fights between rival fans but to deny services to those who are obviously military simply does not make sense. It is incredibly rare for trouble to break out during the day time hours at a bar so common sense should have kicked in, especially when no alcohol was ordered.
In Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom there are many charities setup to support soldiers and their families, or in the worst case scenario, those who loose a loved on while on active duty. Much of the population are very supportive of those who place their lives on the line in the course of their job, and when something such as this is reported, the outcry is instant and loud.
The aforementioned website has had to closed the contact form and the comments options due to the response from those online who feel their actions were despicable. The number of views they have received has spiked greatly in the last week since the story was reported. A brick has already been thrown through the bar’s window. There are online campaigns to boycott the bar.
It is sad when rather than using common sense to deal with a situation, an employee blindly obeys the policies imposed by the business. Hopefully in the coming few days more information will be released as to exactly why such a policy exists and how the owners of the bar intend to make amends with the pallbearers who were refused service. It may be the only way the bar gets patrons coming through their doors again.