Jump to content

Park The Segway Outside


Nadya
 Share

Recommended Posts

So this Restaurant Week has come and gone, right? And I know y'all have been some really, really good, smashing, porny, hilarious stories from the ho'stand. And I have been really, really eager to give them to you. So off I went into the week, ready to face the crowds and looking to be delighted by the ridiculous.

But Thursday night came and went, and nothing really outrageous had happened. Oh, general stupidity and cluelessness was abound, but is that really THAT unexpected? Not during Restaurant Week, it wasn't.

I knew there had to be a big one - a really fat, good, juicy one. Where was it???

It was Friday night. To call this night busy would be like calling a dwarf short. Or like calling Rocks a recluse. What I mean by that is that the regular meaning of the word "busy" had to be multiplied by a factor of one hundred to give an accurate idea of what was going on. That night was our busiest ever, in our entire history.

In other words, it was a bloody stampede.

Two hundred and twenty people on the books, walk-ins galore, phone ringing off the hook. Midway through the night, around seven-thirty, from the corner of my eye I noticed a man on a Segway, one of these ridiculous two-wheel contraptions (Segway) riding into the hotel lobby next to us.

Ten seconds later - WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE ARSE ARE YOU DOING???? OH JESUS.

The man straddling a stupid contraption is still riding it, weaving through the crowd, pulling up to the glass door to the restaurant, opening the door, riding up to the ho'stand.

WITHOUT DISMOUNTING, he pulls up to the stand, looks down at me from his seven feet of be-wheeled height, and bellows:

"Got a table for us?"

It is not often that I am stumped for words. The condition of "speechless" is not a frequent guest in Nadyaland. But this was the hour.

Looking up, staring into the man's face, I was silent for what felt like eternity. "Are you on drugs?" I wanted to ask. "What kind are they? Am I on drugs? Is this really happening???"

The man wasn't even a yuppi looking to make an impression. He was around 60 and was moving about a bit more nimbly than his age would have suggested.

"What the hell do you think that is, a bloody drive-in? Why don't you ride a bloody MOTORBIKE through these doors???"

After regaining speech, I realized I have an opening. "Yes, you can have a table, which I need back in an hour and a half."

"Super! You are a sweetheart!"

(Have we got a dangerous maniac in the place?)

Finally, thankfully, he dismounts. I fully expected him to ride his thing all the way to the table. But he steps down and looks at me, expectingly, searchingly.

"Where's a good place to put this?" he inquires chirpily.

Speechlessness makes a brief appearance in my house, again. Do you expect me to put the bloody thing up???? If you ride a bike in here, do you expect me to have a bloody bike rack someplace??

"Er, there isn't one."

"Haven't you got a coat room?"

"I do. It's for coats. I won't be able to turn around if it's there."

The man is undaunted. He begins to wheel his toy around the bar, poking, searching, trying on corners.

"Well, how about I put it up here? Or here?" he asks, unfailingly picking the busiest spots. Like right next to our entrance. Even a midget in any of these would make foot traffic impossible. Add a Segway, and our stylish lounge would suddenly transform into a Copenhagen trailer park.

Finally, to get him out of my face, and to start dealing with a growing crowd behind him, I hiss, "into the coat room. Push it as far back against the wall as you can. No, not in the middle of the room. No, not right next to an entrance. Up the wall. Next to the vacuum cleaner and a rug pad and a pile of rags for our night porter."

I never thought the day would come. I thought all the fine details of restaurant etiquette have been discussed and argued to death. I thought common sense has finally won.

My Friday night proved otherwise. We thought once that "don't drink if you're pregnant" signs were saying the obvious. But apparently there is a whole other unexplored, undiscovered world of stupidity out there that is yet to be marked by signs.

And into this world, I wish to make a tiny step of my own. Here is my addition to the restaurant signs in this brave new year of 2006.

"ABSOLUTELY NO SEGWAYS ALLOWED INSIDE."

Or, in a slightly more charitable mood:

"PARKING YOUR SEGWAY IS NOT OUR PROBLEM."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nadya,

Would you quit your stupid job doing AIDS research a get a job as a writer already?

Segways piss the hell out of me. I was running on the path along GW Parkway recently (yes, I'm a critical foie gras vacuum that can still move), and these tourists are cruising on them in the cold wind (I think: Can you get off the bike path you tools?) I half hoped they'd blow over, but that's not right. Every time I see a Segway it reminds me of good ol' George Costanza in Seinfeld,

(episode 157, September 25, 1997):

New scene.

George is riding his Rascal scooter on a city sidewalk when he accidentally

bumps another scooter as its owner and some friends are walking out of a nearby

store.

Man: Hey, hey! You dented my ride.

George walks back to inspect the damage.

George: Whatcha got there, the 4 volt? Heh, I did you a favor.

Man: How about I do you a favor upside your head?

George: Oh yeah?

Man: Oh yeah.

George leaps back on his scooter and floors it.

Man: Hey!

Woman: Get the bikes.

Gotta love George, but if you can really walk, get off the damn scooter.

Maybe this nimble old man you encountered needed to get to the French bistro quickly and likes wind better than cabs.

Edited by Meaghan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm waiting for the flying segways, which i hear are coming. they are like what the police rode in fahrenheit 451. a few of them come through your doors, and you will be swarming with business.

i also look forward to the day when the first restaurant with no gravity in the dining room opens in washington.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why am I picturing a year or two from now when some dim bulb driving a Smart thinks they get to park it in your lobby?

I am also highly impressed that none of your staff took the thing for a joyride while George, Jr. was in your establishment. cue Yello's "Oh Yeah" :)

Edited by Principia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I know this guy!

Back in Feb - May of '05, I used to work at Rock Creek Restaurant in Bethesda, and this 60-something man used to roll in with the segway.

The owner HATED this guy because he would just come bursting through the door with the thing.

It was funny because he would stand there on the thing while waiting for the table and then roll over to the table and dismount.

I guess he had a little trouble walking, but I always wondered why he had no trouble standing on that thing for the half hour he was waiting for a table.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously though, would anyone do this if they were riding a bicycle?

No, but if somebody rolled in with an electric wheelchair or one of those mobility scooters and wanted to transfer to a dining room chair and stash their equipment somewhere out of the way? uh huh...they'd get a whole different attitude.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, but if somebody rolled in with an electric wheelchair or one of those mobility scooters and wanted to transfer to a dining room chair and stash their equipment somewhere out of the way? uh huh...they'd get a whole different attitude.

That would be different because a person in a wheelchair clearly has very limited options and probably can't travel any other way. We gladly stash wheelchairs in the coatroom. In fact, we have a ramp for wheelchairs to help them navigate three steps down into the dining room.

The Segway dude clearly CHOOSES to tool about on his toy. That's the difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am just playing whomever's advocate here,but.....

As mentioned above there was another or maybe the same gentleman who had a Segway and had some problem with mobility. I know quite a few older people who have problems walking because of hip and back problems, yet they can stand easily as long as they have some sort of support. As a disabled person given the choice between a motorized cart or a Segway, I would definately choose the Segway. It may just be their way of living with their disability and keeping a bit of pride. Just my two cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am just playing whomever's advocate here,but.....

As  mentioned above there was another or maybe the same gentleman who had a Segway and had some problem with mobility. I know quite a few older people who have problems walking because of hip and back problems, yet they can stand easily as long as they have some sort of support.  As a disabled person given the choice between a motorized cart or a Segway, I would definately choose the Segway. It may just be their way of living with their disability and keeping a bit of pride. Just my two cents.

Your premise is flawed; I have never met anyone who has difficulty walking who does not also have difficulty standing. If Segway's become more prevalent, I can only see obesity growing by leaps and bounds, or should I say by sloth and apathy.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess he had a little trouble walking, but I always wondered why he had no trouble standing on that thing for the half hour he was waiting for a table.

Disabled Segway Users are growing in numbers ". . . Her "invisible" disability makes people silently question whether there's a disability among us. That makes her shrink, as she's very non-confrontational, making her withdraw from the world. The Segway firmly re-establishes her right to that world without the need to get ill to prove she's sick or force her into a pushed wheelchair to comply with "their" view of how she should live."

Not to say that the man in Nadya's story is disabled, but it is at least another point of view, even if it is not nearly as entertaining.

Edited by crackers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If he was disabled in a way that was invisible, i.e. not immediately obvious to people around him, all he had to do was mention to us that he has difficulty moving around by other means. I would have kept my big trap shut and no one around here would have heard a whiff of this story.

We bend over backwards to accommodate disabled customers, and certainly would not have objected to someone's unconventional way of dealing with their disability, if that disability existed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To back up Nadya, being someone who also worked at a restaurant where someone rolled in with one of these obtrusive wheeled things...

The man on his Segway never mentioned he was on the thing because he was disabled.

It's not very obvious to any restaurant worker as they address a man standing on a wheeled object where their head nearly scrapes the ceiling that they are disabled.

Especially when they roll in, demand a table, then stand on the thing as their head still scrapes the ceiling, waiting for a table alongside the crowds of other people 24 inches or so below them.

Then roll up to the table and dismount.

Sorry if I'm a little callous

Edited to correct grammar

Edited by kcl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I actually knew who this guy was until you mentioned the walk to the table. The person I am thinking of uses the Segway because of severe arthritis in both knees that makes walking painful but allows for standing without too much discomfort. He also carries a cane for off-Segway jaunts which identifies him as someone with a disability. But if this guy just gets his rocks off by gliding to and fro and expects everybody to accomodate him ... ugh. I would like to hear his side though since there may be some truth to the "hidden disability" angle. There is a gentleman I see often around Dupont that fits this description though (no obvious impairment, always on the Segway).

Ha! This also reminds me of the great Will Ferrell skit from SNL where he plays the guy who is so hip that he thinks walking has become passe and rides around in one of those little scooters. And has a cell phone the size of a postage stamp.

But as Rocks said, the deluge awaits ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Nadya's original post--

He was around 60 and was moving about a bit more nimbly than his age would have suggested.

While there may be medical reasons for riding one around in places they would not otherwise belong, this does not seem like one of those cases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Nadya's original post--

While there may be medical reasons for riding one around in places they would not otherwise belong, this does not seem like one of those cases.

Even though I swore to myself (and others) I wouldn't comment further....

I am trying to be respectful of all opinions here, I still don't think any person should have to explain their disability if they have one. Some of these disabilitties may be almost impossible for the untrained to detect. Eventually I am sure there will be a special sticker or whatnot that identifies that the Segway is being used for medical purposes, but until then, we will just have to accept and be sensitive to the possibility that there is a medical reason for the use of a Segway.

Edited by RaisaB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even though I swore to myself (and others) I wouldn't comment further....

I am trying to be respectful of all opinions here, I still don't think any person should have to explain their disability if they have one. Some of these disabilitties may be almost impossible for the untrained to detect. Eventually I am sure there will be a special sticker or whatnot that identifies that the Segway is being used for medical purposes, but until then, we will just have to accept and be sensitive to the possibility that there is a medical reason for the use of a Segaway.

Or, we can wait and see if DC Segway User is the Segway rider who dined at Bis the other evening and if he is, find out what the deal is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of I am NOT "The" Segway user - as Don asked when he approved my registration for this site. But I am the co-founder of the DC Segway Enthusiasts Group, as well as the President of Segway Enthusiasts Group America, so I do know something about Segways and the user community.

Let me say, that it IS rude for anyone to just glide with his or her Segway into any place of business, with out first asking if it is OK. We encourage our SEG members to be responsible gliders and not just assume that they and their machines are welcome anywhere without first asking.

On the other hand, we do have a good number of disabled Segway users who find the Segway makes their everyday lives easier, and give them the mobility they have been denied, and that a wheelchair or powered wheelchair does not offer them. A number of these users have given up their wheelchairs and use their Segway HT's in place of what everyone thinks of as what a handicapped person should be using.

It is unlawful to ask any person if, or what, their disability is. So unless they tell you, how would anyone know if they are handicapped? Many folks can stand, but cannot walk. So just because they have a disability does not mean they are to sit out their life.

Though I think the man on the Segway showed some poor judgment, assuming that his machine was welcome in Bistro Bis, he may have assumed that since he was already using it within the hotel, it was fine to do so inside of the restaurant. The Segway user could have approached the situation differently.

Though it is equally as bad to say that disabled people should only get accommodation if its obvious they're disabled, or announce to the world the same. Someone with MS who can stand perfectly well, but can barely walk a step, can with a Segway, move around without hindrance and with full dignity. . I know many of you have seen the trouble disabled persons have in feeling comfortable in places like restaurants, just stepping up or down one step to enter, sitting down at a table, or even more troubling, having to ask for assistance to use the restrooms, can be quite an effort and an embracement for them.

People, who are disabled, really do not want to advertise the fact that they are disabled. What they want is to live their lives like everyone else with the freedom and dignity that we all deserve, especially when we are doing something enjoyable like eating at a DC restaurant.

Last fall when DC hosted SegwayFest DC, we had a number of disabled folks attend with their Segways. Not one of them had any problem in a restaurant. Actually no one, disabled or abled bodied, had problems. Individuals and groups took their Segways in to Ceiba, Acadiana, Beacon Bar and Grill, Hooters DC, and Occidental, to mention a few, without any problems or discrimination. When it was a group dinning event, during the reservation process it was said that they would be coming on their Segways, once at the restaurants, most offered the users the opportunity to bring the Segways into the establishments without a problem. Even our host hotel, The Hotel Washington, was most accommodating to our user community, allowing Segway use throughout their historic building.

I am sorry to hear that our Segway user community ruffled feathers with the restaurant community during the busy and crazy time of restaurant week. But on the other hand, you are in the hospitality business! And a little consideration and communication on both sides would have gone a long way here. But of course then none of this would have made the Reliable Source and gotten so much attention as it has.

Just to let you know that In February an army of Segway users will be coming to DC, for a Segs4Vets event. Where the Disability Rights Advocates for Technology (DRAFT) (http://www.draft.cc/draft3/) will be training the rehabilitation staff at Walter Reed, so that veterans returning from the Iraq war with a missing
leg, can make use of a Segway to help them in their mobility. No doubt a good number of these Segway users will want to spend money and time enjoying many of DC's fine restaurants. I do hope you will show them the courtesy that all your customers deserve.

If you have any questions about Segway, or need a demonstration on the saftey of Segways, the DC Segway Enthusiasts Group will be glad to show you how useful these machines are.

In the mean time - lets keep folks dinning and shopping in DC, no matter how they get there, by cab, subway or Segway! (DC even has it's own downtown Segway Dealer - Captial Segway - so you will be seeing more Segway users at your establishments in the coming years.)

William West Hopper
Gliding on a Segway HT and going out to more DC restaurants who like Segway users as customers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

O tempo o mores!

Disabilities and are one thing and of course require understanding and accomodation, but otherwise there is no excuse for any form of adult transportation--be it Segway, skateboard, bicycle or pogostick--to be allowed in a restaurant. Period.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

O tempo o mores!

Disabilities and are one thing and of course require understanding and accomodation, but otherwise there is no excuse for any form of adult transportation--be it Segway, skateboard, bicycle or pogostick--to be allowed in a restaurant. Period.

Amen.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To play a little devil's advocate -- any reasonable solution to the problem (assuming of course the Segway still exists in five years) will necessarily require some sort of permitting system like handicap tags on cars.

Without such a system any yahoo who wants to would be able to ride roughshod over any business establishment whether or not the business owner wants the Segway there.

To answer the inevitable -- Yes, I am fully aware that wheelchairs do not have handicapped tags on them. But wheelchairs are not generally used as pleasure vehicles for abled people.

To the abled bodied Segway riders - buy a chain and a lock and keep your mechanized transport outside where it belongs.

Edited by JPW
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me say, that it IS rude for anyone to just glide with his or her Segway into any place of business, with out first asking if it is OK. We encourage our SEG members to be responsible gliders and not just assume that they and their machines are welcome anywhere without first asking...

I am sorry to hear that our Segway user community ruffled feathers with the restaurant community during the busy and crazy time of restaurant week. But on the other hand, you are in the hospitality business! And a little consideration and communication on both sides would have gone a long way here. But of course then none of this would have made the Reliable Source and gotten so much attention as it has...

Gliding on a Segway HT and going out to more DC restaurants who like Segway users as customers!

See, now that's interesting. First you (ostensibly) apologize for this guy being rude, and then you take swipes at Nadya/Bistro Bis. I don't believe it's necessary to imply that Bistro Bis' management dislikes Segway users (or the handicapped, for that matter) when trying to get your point across.

I'm sure that there are some individuals who use Segways who also happen to be handicapped. However, that is clearly not the primary intent of the larger models, which is certainly what Nadya appeared to be describing, given that the man towered over her like one of the NBA's taller denizens.

I might suggest that Segway users, if they would like to be accommodated when trying to enter an establishment that would normally disallow bicycles, skateboards, or roller skates inside its doors that they try the p133 model instead: http://www.segway.com/segway/model_pseries.html

That having been said, I don't find it in the least bit reasonable to expect a restaurant (or other public accommodation, for that matter) to let someone run a motorized vehicle with a top speed of over 10 miles an hour through their premises. I can't imagine how that could possibly be considered safe.

Edited by Principia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

O tempo o mores!

Disabilities and are one thing and of course require understanding and accomodation, but otherwise there is no excuse for any form of adult transportation--be it Segway, skateboard, bicycle or pogostick--to be allowed in a restaurant. Period.

Quo usque tandem abutere, Segway user, patientia nostra? :)

I guess the issue is identifying who is a disabled user and who isn't, right? I have no good suggestions on how to do that without seriously offending.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the point of Nadya's post and piece in the Post this morning was that the restaurant staff at Bis had never had a Segway roll up to the hostess stand before. They were surprised and did not have a plan for dealing with the situation. It sounds to me like they handled it just fine.

They now are on notice that from time to time a Segway might come rolling through the door and they have a way to deal with it. I wonder if they will install something in the nature of a hitch'n post outside so that all the Segways can tie up and perhaps tap into some juice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if they will install something in the nature of a hitch'n post outside so that all the Segways can tie up and perhaps tap into some juice.

Careful JG. In addition to having them feel entitled to bring their machines inside, you'll have them thinking that they're entitled to free electricity.

Edited by JPW
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They now are on notice that from time to time a Segway might come rolling through the door and they have a way to deal with it.  I wonder if they will install something in the nature of a hitch'n post outside so that all the Segways can tie up and perhaps tap into some juice.

DCDOT offers to install bike racks all around the city. Contact Jim Sebastian at Ddot who is the bike coordinaor for DC, for more information.

An accessible bike rack would make many gliders very happy. Also many large DC buildings that offer indoor parking, also must have an indoor bike parking area, something else worth finding out. Segways are often seen locked up there. And the ones that have power outlets make it a great reason for Segways to be parked in a designated area.

Allowing disabled gliders into a place of business on a Segway will be a big help for them and provide a more positive feeling all around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to rain on your rant, but I know at least one fellow -- who's about 60, who uses a Segway instead of a wheelchair because he's handicapped. I have been to restaurants with him and he rides it inside. It is not a toy for him, but rather the only way he gets around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to rain on your rant, but I know at least one fellow -- who's about 60, who uses a Segway instead of a wheelchair because he's handicapped.  I have been to restaurants with him and he rides it inside.  It is not a toy for him, but rather the only way he gets around.

There's no rant going on here. Everybody so far seems to think that it's OK for handicapped people to use Segways as an alternative to a wheelchair and that it's rude for non-handicapped people to ride them into business establishments. I think all can agree that the Segway is still somewhat novel. The folks at Bis had never had one come in before and were understandably flummoxed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...