Waitress being harassed by customer
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
May 3, 2023 ·  5 min read

Restaurant Shuts down for a ‘Day of Kindness’ After Verbal Abuse from Customers Makes Staff Cry

A Tiffy Taffy Highlight Story: Sometimes, there are stories that are just too good, too beautiful, or too unbelievable to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to enjoy again. They may make you smile or shed a tear, but they’re always meant to add a little positivity to your day. This story is from July 2021. Enjoy! 

While social etiquette has always been lacking, it would seem that post-pandemic, things have gotten worse. As such, those who work with people, such as in customer service, have become punching bags for their patrons. Subsequently, one Cape Cod restaurant closed for a “day of kindness“, allowing employees to get a much-needed break from the increase of emotional turmoil they’ve suffered.

Apt Cape Cod, a farm-to-table restaurant, announced on their Facebook page in July of 2021, that they would be closing for a “day of kindness” as a result of the harmful way staff had been treated by customers. Although rude customers had increased post-pandemic, the final straw was when an employee was left in tears after being berated for not taking an order before the restaurant opened for the day.

“Taking a Day of Kindness

Brandi Felt Castellano and her partner, Regina Felt Castellano co-own the restaurant and decided to send a message to their community in regard to how service workers are being treated. “I never thought it would become this,” Felt Castellano explained. The post continued, expressing that due to an “astronomical influx” of questionable and concerning behavior from patrons, they would be treating employees to a “day of kindness.” The message was well received, with many patrons and local businesses expressing support.

Speaking Against Emotional Abuse

“This is an unacceptable way to treat any human. We will be open again for breakfast tomorrow. Please remember that many of my staff are young, this is their first job or summer job to help pay for college. We have had to make adjustments due to the increase in business volume, size of the kitchen, product availability, and staffing availability, we are not trying to ruin anyone’s vacation or day off.” the post concluded.

The Felt Castellanos also noted early in the pandemic customers were incredibly generous and treated workers with “overwhelming” kindness. The restaurant employs 24 staff members, including the couple’s 2 children. “It’s like abuse,” Felt Castellano told the NY Times. “It’s things that people are saying that wouldn’t be allowed to be on TV because they would be bleeped. People are always rude to restaurant workers, but this far exceeds anything I’ve seen in my 20 years.”

The Felt Castellanos attribute this rise in hostility toward workers to people’s unawareness of the domino effect of the pandemic. Many businesses are facing shortages and lacking resources that were once readily available. However, customers still expect things to be as free-flowing and abundant as they once were. One group of patrons allegedly threatened to sue because they weren’t given the table they requested. Meanwhile, staff has also been subjected to an increase of yelling and screaming.

Read: 25 Wholesome Times People Spread Kindness Without Expecting Anything In Return

Image Credit: Apt Cape Cod | Facebook

Inconsideration and Rudeness are Trending

Apparently, the Apt Cape Cod staff aren’t the only people to see a rising trend in rudeness and self-entitlement from customers. Tyler Hadfield is a co-owner of The Rail, also in Massachusetts. He and his brother encountered similar issues when a group of diners were outraged by the 40-minute wait and opted to retaliate by “asking for the food to be boxed up, then dumping all of it out front when they left“. “That’s just about the worst behavior I’ve ever seen,” Hadfield explained.

And it turns out that it’s not just service workers who’re being treated this way. Many stories have been shared on TikTok and other social media platforms about how people have become increasingly rude, entitled, and even hostile toward one another. This includes both staff and customers, and spans across multiple industries, including air travel and other sources of entertainment.

Researchers Examine the Lack of Kindness

TIME and other researchers have looked into the new trend of “lacking kindness” and came up with some interesting findings. For one, technology and mass production have given us instant gratification. Therefore, society no longer has the patience or kindness to accept the inconveniences of life post-pandemic. Furthermore, having the opportunity to work remotely, or not work at all, made people forget how to interact with others face to face.

Other factors may include increased stress or other hard to navigate emotions or potential burnout. Dale J. Venturini said, “I think we just need to remind people that we are all doing the best we can with the resources that are available to us right now.” His association released Please Be Kind” toolkits. The kits come with stickers, gentle reminders, for customers to be patient and treat workers, and each other with kindness.

Other Ideas for Treating Others with Kindness:

  • Smile to anyone and everyone. We all could use more a brighter day.
  • Take a deep breath, walk, or do some stretches when you feel like lashing out at someone else. Redistributing blood flow, and your attention, will help you reassess the situation, most often deescalating the need for hostility toward others.
  • Say thank you! It literally costs nothing and makes people feel that their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.
  • If you’ve got a few bucks to spare and want to go above and beyond to show appreciation to your favorite workers, try a $5-10 gift card for a local coffee, ice cream, or sandwich shop.

Muhammad Ali, a boxer and an activist, knew how to both captivate an audience, and treat others with kindness. He once said,” I don’t trust anyone who’s nice to me but rude to the waiter. Because they would treat me the same way if I were in that position.” It’s important to remember that everyone struggles to navigate life’s challenges and we all deserve to be treated with kindness. Additionally, post-pandemic life will likely bring up several never-before-seen challenges, requiring even more patience and kindness.

Keep Reading: Woman’s Simple Act Of Kindness Saved A Homeless Man’s Life


  1. The rise of the irate customer: Post-pandemic rudeness, and the importance of rediscovering patience.” Phys.org.  Laura Hambley and Madeline Springle, The Conversation. March 14, 2023.
  2. Restaurant shuts down for a ‘day of kindness’ after verbal abuse from customers makes staff cry.” Upworthy. Jisha Joseph. April 21, 2023.