How to eat free at Bob Evans

“At Bob Evans, we treat strangers like friends and friends like family.” That’s the company philosophy of Bob Evans restaurants. The chain prides itself on its “ability to treat guests and employees how they deserve to be treated.” Of course, even friends and family members act like idiots occasionally. At such times, treating them “how they deserve to be treated” may not be the best policy. Calling a customer an idiot is almost always inadvisable -- even when he appears to be one. Take Joel Acey, for instance. Call him an idiot and you’ll have a lawsuit on your hands. The hostess at the Charleston Bob Evans allegedly did just that, almost exactly two years ago, on Dec. 26, 2010, when Acey came in with his child and asked to be seated in the front of the restaurant. According to Acey, the hostess led him to a place in the rear, instead, and uttered the words “You damned idiot,” as she slammed two menus down on the table. Maybe it was an off time, the wait staff was not at full capacity, and the front of the restaurant was not “open for service.” Maybe the hostess wasn’t in a “customer’s-always-right” kind of mood. Or maybe Acey has left out a crucial part of the story. Only he and the hostess know that part of the controversy, if there is anything to know. When Acey isn’t dining out, he seems to enjoy social media. He has two “favorites” on his personal Facebook page: a page for his company, Acey Renovations, and another page which seems dedicated to a certain part of the female anatomy. Extenuating circumstances or not, if the hostess called Acey an idiot, she shouldn’t have. However, the fact remains that Acey was not satisfied by a manager’s apology or an offer of a free meal and is now suing for compensatory and punitive damages – for being called something that one could argue may not have been far from the mark.

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