by Steven Doyle
This past Monday Luis Padilla and his wife Brittny decided to dine at Angry Dog in Deep Ellum. Luis is enrolled as a first year student at Baylor College of Dentistry and the couple live very near the Deep Ellum burger restaurant located on Commerce. As the couple walked to the front door they were approached by a chronically homeless man named Clint who make makes his home near the Deep Ellum restaurant. He panhandles a bit and seemingly sticks to himself. This day he asked the Padilla’s to feed him. Struck with compassion, the couple invite Clint into the restaurant to join them for a warm meal. Luis had heard about the award winning burgers at Angry Dog and was excited to sample them for himself.
Once seated the Padilla’s were given a menu, but Clint was refused service. Soon the manager was table side and according to Luis said, “The owners do not allow it, and maybe in a perfect world it would be acceptable”. The Padilla’s gathered their things and left Angry Dog with Clint and walked across the street to Twisted Root where they proceeded to feed the homeless man without incident.
“He [Clint] told me if this was a hassle for me to not worry about it. I explained it wasn’t at all. As far words we just got to know each other a little bit,” said Luis in an interview today.
Luis attempted to contact the manager at the restaurant to lodge a complaint. “I emailed them first before I even went public, and they responded. The owner personally asked me to call him so he could give me an explanation (his words). I called yesterday at around 4pm but he did not answer, so I left a voicemail asking him to please call me back. I never received a phone call or another email”.
In frustration Luis went to the online imaging hosting service Imgur and posted a photo along with his story. In terms of the internet Luis was extremely compassionate with his words, and explained that he did not want to bash the restaurant, but just bring attention to the situation. He felt that even Clint needed to be shown compassion and wished to have his faith in humanity restored.
Later this afternoon, after the Imgur post grew legs and wandered across other social media sites such as Facebook, the owners spoke out about their decision to refuse service to Clint.
The reply was jetted out on Facebook and started, “I appreciate the fact that he would like to help out any homeless person that may need a hot meal, especially in this unpredictable weather we have been experiencing”.
The missive went on to say, “There is, however, a backstory that Luis was unaware of, having only just met “Clint.” The problem is that “Clint” has a troubled history in Deep Ellum, and in particular at the Angry Dog. I have personally had to ask him to not harass our patrons and, in several cases, he has been caught by me and other staff members, as well as the management of the parking lots, trying to scam customers out of their parking money. It is a scheme in which he “offers” to help them place the money in the correct spot, and also at times has acted as an attendant that should be paid directly”.
The owners of Angry Dog explained that Clint had acted out irrationally in the past and mistreated customers and employees of Angry Dog, threatening to deface cars. The problem is not with the chronically homeless problem that wafts across the Deep Ellum area, but rather public drunkenness, drugs, scams and harassment. They claim that even if Clint should win the lottery today and live in a beautiful home in Highland Park, he still would not be welcome into the Angry Dog due to past indiscretions. They would refuse service even to people that are gainfully employed that treated their patrons and employees in the same manner.
Angry Dog does work with the homeless through organizations such as the Stewpot and the Austin Street Center, but as most businesses have requested, they recommend that you do not give cash or feed the homeless. They suggest you allow the organizations that are set up to professionally handle the issues do their job.
The homeless issue will not go away any time soon, and we commend the kind acts of people such as the Padilla’s. Offering comfort and a meal would appear to be the only humane thing to do. Outreach teams estimate 80% of people begging do so to support a drug habit. This is why it is suggested you contact an agency on the behalf of the homeless person, or buy them a hot meal instead of giving a quick dollar.
You can help people like Clint by donating much needed funds to agencies such a those that the Angry Dog supports. Also, The Soupmobile in conjunction with Random Acts of Kindness DFW meets each Saturday at 3025 in Deep Ellum to make sandwiches for the homeless. They will typically make between 1,000 to 3,000 sandwiches each week. Even smaller acts of kindness can bring change. Use the restaurant app Tango Tab which donates a good percentage of their income to organizations, such as our local food banks.
The bottom line is that if we are to fight the homeless problem in Dallas we all need to reach out like the Padilla’s did this week. It all starts with a bit of compassion.