'Please don't jump the gun': Diner regrets complaining to manager about service in restaurant

Interior and exterior of Swensens at Clementi Mall.
PHOTO: Google Reviews

A little act of kindness goes a long way. 

That's what one woman learned after dining at a Swensen's outlet in Clementi Mall last Saturday (Aug 6). 

A diner who goes by the username Sindhu RK Johnson made a lengthy Facebook post detailing the various problems she experienced at that restaurant while she was there with her son.  

Her woes began right from the moment she entered the restaurant, as she claimed the waitress called them in with hand gestures one would use to "call a cat".

Sindhu then found herself seated at a table that was still wet. When she called for a waitress to wipe the table, the latter apparently "looked at [her] in a judgemental way" and wiped the table with a wet towel. 

The woman said she also encountered issues with unresponsive staff when she tried to redeem a free drink coupon. 

Frustrated with the servers' mistakes, the woman asked to speak to the manager. 

"I started voicing my grievances and the manager oh-so patiently heard me out. [And] then when I stopped, what he said next broke my heart." 

She said that the manager of the outlet told her that 90 per cent of the staff were "mid to high functioning teenagers from APSN school". 

APSN stands for the Association for Persons with Special Needs — a social service agency which provides special education, vocational training and employment support services for individuals with mild intellectual disability. 

The organisation has schools located in Katong, Tanglin as well as a student care centre in Ang Mo Kio. 

Realising her mistake, Sindhu said she "profusely apologised" to the manager for her behaviour. She also suggested that the restaurant place a sign outside its premises to inform other customers as well. 

In her post, Sindhu also noted that the restaurant had received multiple "brutal" reviews on Google for their service. 

One netizen said the waiter and managers were "ignorant towards [their] requests", while another said that the customer service for this outlet "definitely has room for improvement". 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Google Review 

In her post, Sindhu said: "I'm just writing this to make it known how wonderful it is for Swensen's to be inclusive...I would like to give a shout out to the manager [in-charge], it really isn't easy."

"Please don't jump the gun too quickly like myself," she urged. 

Updating her post on Wednesday (Aug 10), Sindhu responded to netizens who called her "entitled".

"Please also don't react in future if the waiter slams your food on the table...and [when] no cutlery is given [to you] despite trying to get the attention of the staff for 20 minutes," she posted.  

Sindhu's post has been shared almost 4,000 times, and has amassed more than 300 comments from netizens, many of whom appreciated her honesty. 

"Thank you for being human and showing us how to be human," said one netizen. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook 

In 2018, local diner Astons Express signed a one-year contract with with APSN to rebrand its Cafe Sheltered Enterprise, which provides training for young adults under the care of the organisation. 

After three months of training, these young adults were then offered full-time employment at Astons Specialties outlets. 

AsiaOne has reached out to both APSN and Swensen's for further comment. 

Last year, Food for a Social Cause, an eatery that hires youths with special needs made headlines when one netizen noticed that their premises were rather deserted. 

Tina Lee took to Facebook to appeal to the public to "give them a chance", citing the positive experience she had while dining there. 

ALSO READ: 'Once again, empty tables': Eatery with differently-abled staff appeals for help online

claudiatan@asiaone.com