Well, I’ve been told “no” many times in my life, but Makiko and I haven’t ever been told “no” we could not go into a public place.. until today. Today is Father’s Day and it’s my first without my father physically present with me since he passed away in January. Mom and I decided to do things that we have done in the past or he would like to do in memory of him. We went to Maxim’s, a Dim Sum Restaurant. On many occasions we would go there as a family in the past and then usually right after Dad would go home and take a nap and watch a football game or some other sports game. That was tradition. So we walk in Dim Sum, and I don’t think the hostess saw Makiko over the desk. She handed menus off to someone else and that person sat us. Mom and my great-aunt went first, and I told Makiko to follow them. I was concentrating really hard on making sure we were going with Mom in the crowded restaurant. There were people, chairs, and tables everywhere! As we were walking to the table I heard “Excuse me! Excuse me!” But I ignored it because I didn’t know if it was directed at us and I was super focused on where we were going. Well by the time we got to the tabled there were MULTIPLE people chasing us saying “Excuse me! Excuse me!” They then started saying “No dog. NO DOG. NO dog. Dog not allowed..” over and over and over again, and they were each saying this. Quite obnoxious. Mom and I each tried to tell them she was a guide dog, that didn’t compute (language barrier), then tried to tell them that my eyes didn’t work, that didn’t compute, so then I said “She has to be with me, it’s the law.” And then they backed away, or so I thought. Next thing I know this guy is going around to all the surrounding tables apologizing to them for having a dog in the restaurant. Some of them were American, some of them were Asian, however MOST of them didn’t even realize Makiko and I came in. There was a nice couple right next to us that I heard tell the guy “It’s okay. She’s beautiful and so sweet…” and then I turned and said thank you to them and we chatted a little bit about her.
Now, I will say that I’m trying to be really understanding because it is a cultural thing, or so I am told. I realize that to many Chinese people they eat dogs, may not have service dogs in China, and therefore do not want them in the restaurant and I understand that they couldn’t easily understand why I had a dog in there because of a language barrier. However, it was still humiliating to be chased down by many members of their staff and then have someone go around apologizing essentially for our presence. Then later this guy, who was the main one that was chasing us down, came to bug us about a tip. Mom left a good tip at the register but this guy came and just started talking to us about the tip as we were heading out, stopping by the restroom first. Mom told him that she left the tip at the register and he then started saying “thank you, I try to say thank you.” So we aren’t really sure what that was about.. our best guess was that he was trying to thank us, and again this might be a problem of the language barrier, but this dude sure likes to chase us down!
So anyway, I respect that this is probably a cultural thing and thats why I didn’t get too upset over it. But it was interesting in that it was our first time we were told we couldn’t go in the restaurant together, even though we eventually got it sorted out. It was kind of humiliating too, but nevertheless it was a learning experience and I can appreciate that.