Bertrand says he is now cool with California Pizza Kitchen.
In celebration, his aunt Belinda styled him à la Jersey Shore.
Yesterday when I posted about our incident at California Pizza Kitchen, I didn't expect the response we got. The outpouring of love and support for Bertrand from everyone was amazing! We love you all in return. :) So many people called, emailed, tweeted, facebook-messaged and emailed us or CPK corporate about it.
Their corporate office apologized to Bertrand and our family, and they clarified that their no stroller policy doesn't cover such devices used for assistive mobility. Meaning: any assistive mobility device of Bertrand's is allowed. They "completely understand" why we would be upset.
We've accepted their apology and would like for everyone to move on. We never sanctioned a boycott of CPK and hope that those of you taking such action on our behalf will reconsider because their corporate charity (and the most ironic part of this fiasco) is the Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries.
Also, in the interest of fairness, CPK's unwavering position was that since at one point at the very end of "the incident" we were offered a table outside in the bright sun and heat, we were not refused service. I disagree because I told the hostess that Bertrand was special needs and "he can't sit outside". Anyone who has a child with severe epilepsy--photosensitive at that--knows why Bertrand can't sit outside. We'd be having an ER visit rather than pizza for lunch. But, there you go, let it go on record that CPK says they didn't refuse us service.
The conversation with the CPK representative today reinforced that, as I briefly mentioned in yesterday's blog post, if I'd resorted to getting publicly upset and pressing the issue with the manager at the store, of course Bertrand would've been allowed to remain in his stroller and away from seizure triggers.
Now, I am not sure about anyone else, but would being forced to publicly explain to multiple strangers why your child is disabled and dying appeal to you? Could you keep your appetite? Would you feel like sitting and socializing after you've been forced to mentally relive the trauma of continuously struggling and failing to save your child's life?
Needless to say, nobody can "completely understand" our situation, no matter how well meaning. You'd think that after 2 years of struggling with Bertrand's condition I'd be able to "get over it", but I probably never will. Would you?
I feel like, after I've identified Bertrand as a special-needs/disabled child, I should just be able to say that "he can't sit in a highchair" or "he can't sit outside" and non-medical personnel should take me at my word. I shouldn't have to go into depth explaining the 700 plus pages of Bertrand's medical record to perfect stranger to justify anything. No other client is forced to do that, so why should I?
At Vienna Bistro, Bertrand has his own table and the staff loves him. The same goes at Einsteins (where he goes by the title "the cutest baby ever"), Melting Pot and The Metropolitan. I've never had to explain Bertrand's special needs at any of these restaurants, thereby retaining my appetite. Even though there are no hard feelings toward CPK, we'll be sticking to restaurants that don't require a painful explanation in order to be seated.