Margaret Eby
September 18, 2014 4:09 pm

The sad truth about working in the service industry is that you deal with all sorts of people, and some of them are not as respectful of your personal space as they should be. This week, a New York bartender and producer took a stand against the misogynist behavior of one of her customers. After this customer got a little too handsy and disrespectful, Laura Ramadei, who works at a New York bar called Lucky Strike, wrote an outraged open Facebook message to him—and anyone else who’s ever mistreated a server.

She begins: “You came into the restaurant where I work and ordered a Stoli on the rocks. When I asked you and your companion if you‘d be eating, or needing anything else from me, you put your hand — ever so gently — ON MY ASS and asked if you could take me ‘to go.’ When I immediately stepped away and said ‘Sorry, what?’ you probably gathered that I was and am not receptive of such advances from customers.”

She continues by explaining that, in her five years working as a bartender, this behavior isn’t unique. “I deal with incredible amounts of entitlement, condescension, and drunk nonsense. And at a bar, it is impossible to ignore the fact that misogyny is alive and well.”

Her hope, she continues, in posting this letter is to teach this customer “something about how hurtful and upsetting a small comment or gesture might be. Or at the very least, maybe a Facebook passerby will read this and more deeply consider how they treat women, how they treat servers, and/or how they treat other people in general.”

It turned out, Ramadei reached a lot more people than she imagined. Her post went viral, gathering over 10,000 likes and 6,000 shares, and made national headlines.

Clearly, her story touched a nerve, and spoke to thousands of people who have been treated with disrespect in their jobs. (Ramadei, by the way, ended her letter by announcing she had quit.) Her open letter is an important reminder of the workplace sexism that many people encounter, particularly in the service industry. While it’s important to acknowledge that men will experience this kind of objectification as well, women still experience it with far more frequency both as servers and in everyday life.

“Please be kind to your server,” Ramadei reminds us, “If your drink took a while, it might just be because your bartender was rage crying about misogyny in the bathroom.”

Today, she posted a follow-up note about the media attention she’s received since her the initial letter went viral, and clarified some rumors about what went down.

She made it clear, “I was not grabbed violently, just. . ..touched weirdly. (Still offensive, worth clarifying.)” She added: “The amount of attention this has all gotten only proves to me that these kinds of occurrences are indeed commonplace, and ready to be brought to light. But let’s not send an angry mob to anyone’s house. Plenty of us have plenty to learn.”

(Image via Facebook by Kevin Thomas Garcia)

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