WOULD YOU LIKE A SLUR WITH THE SANDWICH? Paul Berger, a Knollsbrook resident, enjoys going to D’Angelos at while his “lady friend” goes to the beauty parlor in the plaza there.
He was a frequent customer, and particularly enjoyed the soups and lobster sandwiches. But, you won’t see him there anymore.
Berger sent a letter to the Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager, and others, telling a story of his experience at that location this past Saturday (Dec. 17).
After having a soup, and registering for a D’Angelos rewards card, Berger asked the manager (Eric) if there was a senior discount program, as well. The response was, “Are you trying to Jew me down?”
Berger said he couldn’t believe what he had heard: “He said ‘oops’ after he said it. I was truly shocked. I told him I resented it and that I would communicate with his boss. I threw my D’Angelos card and receipt at him and left.”
Berger spoke to Catherine Turrell, a former Executive VP of Operations for 37 years, and also to D’Angelos Regional VP Jim Thompson.
He says, “I asked that Eric be fired and that an executive of the company meet me at my Rabbi’s office to explain what the company plans to do to assure that this type of thing will never happen again. I was told they will reprimand the manager and not do anything further.”
He also asked the Board of Selectmen to take action against D’Angelos, “possibly revoking their license to operate the sandwich shop.”
Rabbi Joseph Meszler of Temple Sinai in Sharon told About Town, “I think it’s unfortunate that people still use anti-Semitic phrases, sometimes without thinking. Giving the individual the benefit of the doubt, some people are raised with these types of phrases. But, by now, people should know better. That’s the best-case scenario.
“At the end of the day, people should be better educated on this. We don’t need people saying anti-Semitic things. Whenever you have any kind of clientele, you should learn who they are. In America, anyone can walk in with any kind of background. It’s your job to be respectful.”
About Town spoke with Eric and at first he denied saying anything at all. Then, when pressed on the exact quote, he simply said, “I have nothing to say” and hung up.
Berger, who is in his 80’s, said he has excellent hearing.
“The quote is exact,” he said.
Shortly after my short conversation with Eric, Turrell called me. She said she handles guest complaints for the location’s owner, Brian McLaughlin.
(Interestingly enough, McLaughlin is the co-founder of the sub chain, with Jay Howland in 1967. PepsiCo bought the chain in 1993. It is now owned by Papa Gino’s Holdings Corporation in Dedham.)
“I don’t take these things lightly,” Turrell said. “I wish it hadn’t happened, but I can’t fire him for this. He’s going to get a written warning. If it happens in the future, he will lose his job. We respect the Jewish community and Eric does, too,” she told me.
Berger is a World War II veteran, who served on PT 169, stationed in the Southwest Pacific, Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. He spent three years serving this nation, and received two disability awards.
Calls to D’Angelos President & CEO Rick Wolfe and to Thompson went unreturned.