Waiter Arrested After “Ignoring” Allergy Restrictions

simon-pierre-canuel

Simon-Pierre Canuel had a really shitty time when his waiter served him something he was allergic to. (Radio-Canada)

Well, if this doesn’t make you stand up and pay attention to food allergies, nothing will. A waiter in Quebec was arrested and could be charged with criminal negligence after serving salmon to a customer after the customer informed him of a severe seafood allergy. Because of dim lighting and the fact that the salmon was prepared with mayonnaise, (for real, that’s what the customer said…) the customer did not notice he wasn’t eating beef and began to eat the dangerous seafood. That’s when he went into anaphylactic shock, went into a coma, went into cardiac arrest and basically, had a really shitty dining experience. The customer did keep an EpiPen in his car which is the absolute wrong place to keep an EpiPen when you have a life threatening allergy. No word on what he left his server for a tip, but my guess is that it was less than 20%.

The customer, Simon-Pierre Canuel has made it out of the hospital but the first thing he did when he opened his eyes from the coma was to call his attorney and set this lawsuit in motion. “At the time of the order, the waiter took no notes and never went to the kitchen to talk with staff,” said police officer Martin Carrier. Canuel claims that the waiter did not inform the cooks and was chatting, laughing and drinking alcohol with other guests. If that ends up being proven, I’m thinking this waiter might need to update his resume right quick because a new job is on the horizon.

It is unlikely that the waiter will get a prison sentence which is probably why the customer is already considering civil action. (Make that money!) “I’m still afraid at times that I’ll fall asleep and never wake up. I have anxiety attacks… heart palpitations, sweating attacks, etc.” said Canuel. These are all good things to mention to the press when laying down the groundwork for some real financial payback. The restaurant, Le Tapageur, has refused to comment until they speak with their lawyers, which is code for, “We know we fucked up.”

Normally, I would side with the server in almost any situation, but this one is a bit different. The server was careless and made a huge mistake that almost killed a man. This isn’t like bringing someone a regular Coke when they ordered a Diet. This man almost died. And worse, his picture ended up on the Internet while he is unconscious and all coma’d out. Totally embarrassing.

What can we learn from this, people?

  • If a customer tells you they have a severe allergy, take that shit seriously. Even when they say they are allergic to lettuce or gluten, we are obligated to take their word for it.
  • If you have a severe allergy, keep your fucking EpiPen in your pocket and not in the car. After all, do you want to put your life in the hands of a 22-year old kid who is getting paid less than minimum wage?
  • Salmon prepared with mayonnaise miraculously tastes exactly like beef.
  • Servers in Canada apparently get to drink alcohol with other guests.

27 thoughts on “Waiter Arrested After “Ignoring” Allergy Restrictions

  1. CincyDrunk

    I know we usually side with the servers on here, but that waiter is a fucking idiot and 100% deserved to be canned. The minute I hear “allergy” or “gluten free menu” I have an allergy ticket (something we use at my restaurant) in my hand ASAP and am communicating with my chef and/or line cooks.

    Fun side story: The guy who is about to be my executive chef is the reason a guest went to the hospital because of their gluten allergy. Yay. (Goddammit Pepe…)

    Reply
  2. Michele

    Patron orders beef and you bring fish. I wouldn’t question this if an ingredient was in the customers dish that he was allergic to, but the entree. This story is missing something. This sounds fishy.

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  3. Abby

    I have a severe airborne and ingested shellfish allergy (never heard of salmon being part of that) and while I find it embarrassing sometimes to be a special little snowflake, I do inform the waitstaff when I order – and ahead of time if making a reservation – and always have my Epipen on me. I do worry that the staff will think I’m lying or being obnoxious about it but it’s very real and errors do happen and I’ve had shrimp show up in dishes that didn’t call for it. You have to be responsible for your own issues.

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    1. Patti

      I’ve been a server for 33 yrs, the problem. l. have with article Is I find it highly doubtful that a server was drinking alcohol during the shift…
      Half the time your lucky to get down 5 oz s of water throughout the whole shift.
      Food allergies are not a joke by any means!! And more importantly how did the waiter mistake salmon for a beef dish?!?!
      I have never been to a restaurant that has had lighting so dim you can not see what your eating.
      So the blame falls in them both…

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      1. PJNYC

        I have been a waitress and a bartender and we drank frequently during our shifts. Even when it was busy. I’m not proud, just honest.

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      2. Evette

        I’m not going to lie….I work at a “gourmet” burgers and beer place and we are expected to try all of the twenty beers on draft and know how to describe taste/style to our customers….and (this is annoying as hell) our owners turn the lights down so low that almost al of our customers have to bring out their cell phones to read the menu during dinner service….maybe not the norm but definitely possible.

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  4. Andrea

    Patti, if you’ve been a server for 33 years, i highly doubt you haven’t heard of other servers drinking on the job. I worked as a server for 7 years and knew other servers that did this multiple times. Also, I know in many states that it’s not illegal to drink on the job as a server, as long as you do not become intoxicated -aka over the legal limit. But there is something missing from this story. There is no way he mistaked salmon for beef.

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    1. S Bunnell

      Any employee who drank during a shift in our restaurant would be immediately terminated for cause. It happened once a couple of years ago – so we all know it’s serious.

      Reply
  5. Maeble

    I drank at work all the time. It was a small place. “Whoops, that customer wanted mango juice, not orange juice in their mimosa? MINE!”

    Also…while preparing sangria…gotta taste it to make sure I made the recipe right! Ohh…there’s only a drop of booze left after pouring things together? MINE! Opened a bottle of hard root beer for samples and everyone hated it? MINE! Friend comes in, orders a Lambic and can’t finish it?? MINE!

    For a second I forget that I quit that job b/c the owner was batshit.

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  6. Ursla

    Are we sure the waiter brought out the food? Alot of places have food runners.
    I had a customer once who was severely allergic to onions. I informed the cook. When i delivered the food i did not see any onions on her plate. However, under her potatoes were a handful of onions. This was the irresponsible idiot of a cook who did this out of spite.
    Luckily the customer checked her food first before eating the potatoes. Mistakes happen and are rarely intentional.

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  7. Charlie

    For all of those saying, “he couldn’t have mistook salmon for beef, he’s lying, waaaaaah!” It’s important to understand that the dish was TARTAR.

    For all of you burger slingers, that’s raw, diced beef formed in a mold and served with an accompaniment (usually toast points).

    It would, actually, have been difficult to distinguish between raw beef and raw salmon in dim lighting. Further, raw proteins tend to taste very similar — especially beef and a non-white fish.

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  8. Beverly

    As for lettuce allergies…it is a rare but real thing. A friend’s mother was allergic to lettuce. They were out to lunch one day and a couple small pieces of lettuce were in her salad (she had told her server of her allergy). When she had an anaphylactic reaction and stopped breathing, and an ambulance was called, I guess the staff believed her then.

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  9. Tom D

    Good and well run restaurants know the importance of allergies in food prep. The last restaurant I worked at (for 10 years) had a policy. Not only would I ring in the dish using the ALLERGY button, but I communicated with the chef, food runners, AND a manager. No one but a manager was able to run that food out!! So now we’ve got all these checks and balances along the way. The likelihood of someone getting anything they’re allergic to, after all that, is nil. If you follow those rules, things will be fine. I’ll side with a waiter on a whole lot of stuff because I know how HELLISH the job can be, but allergies are real. You gotta pay attention!

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  10. Frank

    “Even when they say they are allergic to lettuce or gluten, we are obligated to take their word for it.”

    I’m sorry, I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say here… Do you want them to carry a doctor’s note to prove it to you? Do you think gluten allergies do not exist? My sister, who has ended up in the hospital from accidental ingestion of gluten would probably disagree.

    OK, I guess celiac disease isn’t technically an allergy, but an auto-immune disorder that causes the body to mount an immune response that attacks the small intestine (but seriously, it’s much easier to call it an allergy when trying to order food and get the point across). So yeah, when someone says they’re allergic to gluten (or anything else for that matter), “take that shit seriously.”

    Reply
    1. MANGLER

      While we all truly understand how serious allergies can be, that comment was a satirical reference to many other BW posts about people saying they have allergies when they just don’t like an ingredient. And this is a sassy blog, so take it with a grain of wheat.

      Reply
  11. Riane

    I work at a buffet and if a table comes in and asks about how dishes are prepared because of allergies I go and immediately get the chef. I want to make sure that they get the one who knows the kitchen the best to do it. When I worked full service, I always made sure to communicate with my cooks about allergies of guests as well. Sometimes they seem unlikely, but I’d rather just hear the grumbling about it than see someone start seizing. Hell, I’m allergic to something that’s in SmartWater (yes….I am aware of how ridiculous that sounds) and having your throat close up and start getting light headed from lack of oxygen is terrifying. Like drowning above water.

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  12. Kate

    Just happened upon this blog when I Google the story and have to say (I’m guilty of it myself) that carrying an EpiPen can be a pain the the butt. They are huge and bulky and don’t exactly fit into a tiny dressy purse or into pockets of any kind. My allergy is to bees and not food but I can kinda understand where this guy comes from on this. He repeatedly told the server of his allergy. Even if the server wasn’t drinking with guests at another table, they are responsible for not only communicating the allergy but should have double checked with the person plating the dish at the window before going to the table. Double checking is way easier then chest compressions any day.

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    1. Anonymous

      You have an allergy that can literally kill you, but the thing that can save your life is too annoying to keep with you? I’m sorry, but that’s fucking stupid.

      Reply
  13. Kristina

    Like the decaf people that always ask if it’s decaf when you set it down. If you’re allergic to salmon ask if it’s salmon before taking a bite.

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  14. A non Omus

    Ok so he order beef, and gets salmon. He mentions several times he has a seafood allergy, yet still get salmon. My question is why? Why bring up a seafood allergy when you have no intention of ordering seafood? Unless the menu has a “this dish is prepared near seafood” warning then there would be no point in bringing it up. Now I have eaten at a variety of resteraunts NONE of them have had poor enough lighting that I couldn’t see what I was eating. Salmon covered in mayonnaise? Some kind of tater sauce sure, but tater sauce would be more indentifiable and less likely for him to have taken a bite. Finally the FIRST thing he did was call a lawyer? If he is in a coma why didn’t a family memeber initiate the process? Your loved one is in a coma racking up medical bills, the first thing I would do as the loved one of the person in a COMA, is call a lawyer. I feel like this is a blatant scam. The guy knew he had an epipen, convienently in the car despite his obvious worry about his allergy. His side of the story holds no water. Every aspect of his claim screams fraud.

    Reply
  15. Stop anytime

    You’re a bit of a cunt for just playing off serious things such as gluten allergies like they’re the customer lying. I mean yeah there’s trendy hipsters who say they’re allergic to gluten to get gluten free, but you’re willing to fucking kill someone just over that? You’re not the bitchy waiter, you’re a fucking monster.

    Reply

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