A 290-pound man is suing White Castle because the seats at the iconic fast-food restaurant are too small. I sit here shaking my head because I'm almost at a loss for words. Almost.
First, let me share what I know so far. The man, a faithful customer of a White Castle located in Nanuet, New York, has experienced difficulty trying to fit into the booths at the restaurant -- even hurting himself -- according to an article in the New York Post.
After the incident, he wrote to White Castle headquarters to complain about the uncomfortable situation. He was rewarded with three "very condescending letters" that included coupons for free burgers -- cheese not included, in case anyone cares.
Disheartened, Kessman sent his wife to pick up the free burgers and all subsequent White Castle meals he has consumed since. Apart from sending the coupons, White Castle stated in the letters that seating changes would be made to accommodate people with above-average girth.
According to Kessman, the correspondence from headquarters included "specs and everything, about how the booths were going to be enlarged and made comfortable for people with a little more weight... two and a half years went by, and nothing was done." The issue, according to Kessman, is that the average-size booths are a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and a violation of his civil rights.
Again, I sit here shaking my head. What's next? Should everything be made supersize so obese people can feel normal? Why are people OK with forcing companies and governments to accommodate morbidly obese people but not OK with forcing companies to eliminate trans fats, eliminate free toys with kids' meals at fast-food restaurants, and implement other initiatives to force the food industry to make our food more healthful and less fattening?
The reason, my friends, is because as a nation we expect accommodations to be made for us when we screw up -- like a kid who throws a tantrum and gets some candy or a handheld videogame to shut him up, instead of getting everything taken away from him.
It's not right. Keep in mind that I don't think it's right for airlines to charge fat people extra for tickets, and I don't think it's right that some clothing companies charge more for bigger sizes either. But I do think it's wrong for a person who has made himself so big that he cannot sit comfortably in a restaurant to expect that restaurant to invest money and change the entire blueprint of its dining room to accommodate him.
I'm heavy, overweight, fat, obese, you name it. At my heaviest, I would get winded bending over to tie my shoes. At my heaviest, I still fit into the seats of theme park and carnival rides, but there were a few restaurant booths that pushed uncomfortably into my enormous gut. I didn't take issue with the restaurants or with my shoes. The target of my anger was myself for getting to the point where everyday activities had become difficult or impossible.
Obese people are "disabled" only by a stretch of the imagination. Are their daily activities impaired? Yes. Are they uncomfortable performing normal activities such as tying their shoes or walking up a flight of steps? Probably. But why? They don't have cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy; instead they ate their way to a disability. Obese people calling themselves disabled should be ashamed of themselves. They degrade the truly disabled who struggle every day without a choice.
Again I ask -- what's next? Most roller coasters can't accommodate really heavy people. Are we going to force Disney World and Universal Studios to dismantle their rides and spend millions (many, many millions) creating new, fat-friendly rides? Will we reinforce horses with metal legs so they can carry really obese people without their legs splaying? Will we, as individuals, be responsible for making sure our homes have fat-friendly furniture?
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The future I'm speculating about sounds preposterous, doesn't it?
My point exactly.