These are your Vegans on Crack.
Pokez in San Diego is notorious for bad service, mildly filthy conditions. a seriously cool vibe and food that ranges from average to exceptional, possibly depending on the medication level of the cooks. Love it or hate it, most people just put up with it, because it's A Cool Place To Be. This apparently makes it worth putting up with rude, possibly stoned wait staff and God knows what in the coffee.
But when a rude, possibly stoned waitress allegedly shook and yelled at an autistic child, his father thought the situation to be very uncool indeed.
UPDATE: Coming from Childfree_Hardcore? This is just for you.
Story found at Ballastexistenz.I called Pokez myself and asked to speak to the manager. I found that I was, and I asked for their version. The manager (I'm afraid I aspied the name) replied that those present were "being rude" and were ejected for that. She also informed me that the child was "not really autistic" because "Most autistic kids can't speak."
"Last night, we went with nolly to Pokez, a Mexican restaurant in downtown San Diego. We had to wait about 15 min. to order, and the waitress seemed stressed. It was David's turn to order... he was slow to make up his mind while ordering, and grumpy. Not yelling or anything himself, just cranky. The waitress took this as directed at her, she suddenly snapped. She grabbed his shoulder, shook him, and leaned over and started mocking him, yelling his words back directly in his ear. He asked her to stop, and she grabbed his shoulder and then started screaming in his ear. Screaming that she had had enough and didn't have to work with this. And then she let go, stood up, told the table that she would not serve anyone at the table, and stalked away. He hadn't touched her beforehand... he wasn't even making eye contact, he had been looking at the menu.
We all looked at each other, in shock. After a pause, I got up and went to the manager, behind the register. I politely explained that I had an autistic son, that sometimes he needed a bit of extra time or patience, and did not read body language well. And that his waitress had abused him and refused to serve our table, and that that was unacceptable. I wanted an apology and a different server. But the manager backed up the waitress. He said that she was right, and that if my son was "going to be too much trouble" then we should not let him order for himself in restaurants. That it was our fault for having a child that needed patience or hesitated while ordering, and so we should have ordered for him. And that our party should leave.
James (his teenaged brother) was sullen and blamed David.... we were silent, mostly not believing that this was happening. Eventually went to another place for dinner.
[updates have been posted subsequently... basically, as of Friday evening, I have talked to the local Autism Society, and their attorney several times, have tried twice to file a police report (only could get an "incident report" from the SDPD), and have sent a letter to the local paper (Union-Tribune)]"
Thank you for all your help, Lennie Schaefer.
However, the only honest way to describe the conversation was "rude and dismissive."
My only other contact was the webmaster for Pokez, who disclaimed any responsibility for pokez, other than hosting the website, but said he'd try to speak to the owner. He did repeat over and over - as if it were a mantra - that if there had been a problem, it should be reported to the police. That didn't make a lot of sense to me at the time, but after seeing multiple alligations that the place is staffed by "crackheads," it begins to make sense. I assured them that it had been He also informed me that Pokez has their own Myspace. I found myself in the strange land of cool kidz who don't give a fuck. (loud music autoplays)
A little too much "attitude," not enough punk ethic if you ask this old punk.
Meanwhile, it's rating on Yelp.com continues to plummet, lawyers keep offering the father of the alleged assault victim representation services and it's turning into the Giant Hairball of Doom. Things should be interesting come Monday.
This review, if true, may Reveal All.
Pokez, what a strange place, but sort of a quintessential san diego thing.Bottom line - from all the reviews that came up before this occurred it seems like the story is plausible, and if true could - and should - result in some unpleasant consequences for those involved and those responsible for those involved. And as it happens, people on the spectrum, such as myself, have both a passion for justice and the ability to perseverate until justice takes notice.
First you should know that none of the servers get paid. They work for free. And for tips. Why? I think there are a few reasons. Because working at Pokez is a glamorous job in the mind of young san diego hipsters. And most of the Pokez crew are using drugs (meth, coke, heroin). So that would explain the service.
How the owners get away with this I don't know. Where they find these kids (the staff is continually changing) I don't know. But I would surmise, drugs has something to do with it. And there's always some new naive hipster moving to the environs of downtown san diego.
The food is your basic greasy mexican food. It can be good or bad depending on the cook. Pokez does have a lot of vegetarian options you won't find at other mexican restaurants though.
The atmosphere is kinda like the malt shop on happy days but with a hipster, druggie vibe. And with everyone thinking they are the fonz. I'm always struck by how young the crowd is, and how they seem so out of place in that part of town, like they teleported in from god knows where.
Check it out if you must, its kind of an interesting place.
And all because a waitress couldn't - you know - actually wait for an autistic child to make a choice.
Karma is a bitch and I love her so.
UPDATE: More here, not so much about the incident per se, as about the ethics of the incident and why it's become such a massive hairball so quickly. I had to get an ethics post out of this somehow.
UPDATE: I got some off the record indications that people connected to this are deeply concerned with what they see as an unfair perception of the business. But I have so far not been contacted in any official, on-the-record way by Pokez management or owners.
UPDATE: The link to the Pokez myspace above has some kind of wierdness - let's try this: http://www.myspace.com/pokezsd
If that gives a 404 error, go to myspace and search for pokezsd and you will find the page; it's still there.
tag: karma, pokez, San Diego, mexican food, vegan, autism, autistic, assault, assholes