I happened to come across a story the other day about a man who is suing fast food “restaurant”, White Castle (a chain that made it to the list of popular food that we can’t resist). At first, I assumed he found a roach in his food, or a piece of glass in his drink, or maybe he was run over in one of their parking lots, or any number of fast food lawsuits that come up. Instead, what I found is a fat guy who can’t fit into the booths!
Fat Guy in a Little Booth
Martin Kessman is a 64-year old stockbroker who measures in at 6ft tall and 290lbs. He is suing White Castle because their booths are too small for him to fit in comfortably. Back in April of 2009, he tried to sit down at a White Castle in Nanuet, and ended up banging his knee against one of the table’s metal supports.
The New York Post records the following:
“They’re stationary booths,” he told The Post. “I’m not humongous, [but] I’m a big guy. I could not wedge myself in.”
“As I looked around the restaurant, I saw that there were no tables and chairs that could accommodate a person that merely wanted to sit down and eat his meal,” Kessman wrote.
Kessman claims he has no problem finding a place to take a load off at other fast-food places, and fits easily into airline seats.
He left the restaurant embarrassed and in pain, so he decided to write a letter to the corporate headquarters. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the type of sympathetic response that he was expecting:
“In each letter was a coupon for three free hamburgers — but the cheese was extra!” according to a lawsuit Kessman filed last week in Manhattan federal court.
Something tells me that, despite his outrage, he used those coupons! In fact, he admits that this event has not stopped him from eating White Castle meals at all. But since he was embarrassed at not being able to fit in the booth, he sends his wife to pick up his order!
Maybe he stayed loyal to the chain because they assured him that they would make changes to the seating arrangements in their restaurant:
“They sent me specs and everything, about how the booths were going to be enlarged and made comfortable for people with a little more weight,” Kessman said. “So two and a half years went by, and nothing was done.”
I have to admit that I’ve never been able to understand the point of their stationary booths. Wouldn’t it just make sense to have tables and chairs? Maybe they are worried that their customers might use the chairs in one of the infamous “White Castle Fights” that are far too common. Either way, I never thought about filing a fast food lawsuit – even though I’m a fat guy (even though I’ve lost some weight recently)!
Fast Food Lawsuit: Fat Guy in a Little Court?
You may be wondering how Mr. Kessman has managed to transform an embarrassing situation into a fast food lawsuit…well, I’ll tell you.
According to Martin Kessman, the “tight” stationary booths in White Castle chains violates the civil rights on fat guys (and gals)! He claims that the chain is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act:
The Americans with Disabilities Act is “applicable — not only to me, but to pregnant women and to handicapped people,” according to Kessman, who is suing for bigger chairs and unspecified damages. “I just want to sit down like a normal person.”
A quick review of this case would suggest that it will be thrown out of court, but I don’t believe it will go away that easily. There are plenty of people who feel that obesity is a bonafide disability, and because of that, they expect you to make all sorts of outrageous accommodations for fat people.
What Do You Think?
- Do you think White Castle owes this man anything?
- Should they be forced to reconstruct their restaurants because someone who weighs almost 300lbs can’t fit in a seat comfortably?
- Should they be required to pay damages because a fat guy was embarrassed about being fat – while he was ordering unhealthy food?
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