My husband and his parents have been going to Fellini’s for Christmas Eve dinner since he moved to Charlottesville in 2007. It’s such a well known fact, family members pre-pay for wine and appetizers every year. We were so excited to bring our new daughter to our 10th annual Christmas Eve Dinner. We knew we needed the earliest reservation to accommodate her bedtime and made reservations the first week of December. We spoke to a man and joked about our daughter only counting as point five.
On the drive down to the restaurant, I called to update our reservation from 7.5 people down to 5.5 (my parents got the flu). “Susan” answered the phone and discovered our reservation was written as 2.5 people at 5:30. Having been in the hospitality industry most of my life, I found it extremely believable that a seven could appear to look like a two. “Susan“ did not see this to be believable nor did she remove the receiver from her mouth when she yelled to a coworker saying that the woman on the phone ‘claimed’ to have a reservation for 7 people at 5 o’clock. After loudly consulting with her coworker, “Susan” was still not offering any information about our dinner plans nor did she ever offer a word of condolence to the situation. Only after directly asking “Are you going to be able to accommodate us this evening or are we out of luck?” did she mumble they would make it work at 5:30.
Due to the damp cold winter weather, my husband dropped me off at the front door. I pulled my daughter out of her car seat, wrapped her in a Christmas blanket only to find a locked door. The man standing at the bar (scratching tape off the bar) comes around to open the door when “Susan” walked out of the kitchen and hollered “Do not let her in! We do not open for six more minutes”.
-Surely, this is some sort of Christmas Eve joke to not let a young mother and her infant child in out of the cold. I stood there in disbelief until the man opened the door stuck out his head out and said “I can’t let you in - she’s not joking.”
Now, I told you I was on my way down to your establishment, you messed up my reservations and you looked me in the face and didn’t let me in -ON CHRISTMAS???
Six minutes...You couldn’t let a mother and baby come in from the cold for six minutes! While I stormed around the corner to Common House, “Susan” was exiting the side kitchen door to smoke a cigarette.
Common House let me in.
Common House offered me a glass of champagne and a comfortable chair.
Common House offered to host our Christmas Eve Dinner in spite of their full reservation list. They put a table in the bridge room (some how found a high chair) and treated us like VIP.
Common House saved Christmas and we have a new Christmas Eve Tradition.
(PS this was drafted while waiting in the doctors office - my daughter got sick.)
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