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A viral social media post falsely damages restaurant's reputation

Posted at 7:19 PM, Dec 17, 2019

The keyboard has replaced the pen these days, and it is truly just as mighty. The owners of DJ’s Bar and Grill on the bypass in Winchester, Kentucky, can attest to that.

“It’s alarming to think that this is the caliber of the general public, or the intelligence level we’re dealing with day to day,” said Danielle Ratliff.

Three Decembers ago, a post appeared on Facebook about a restaurant refusing to serve 10 of the 35 meals it had prepared for a group of veterans. The 25 who were there wanted to serve the extra meals to homeless vets.

The restaurant, which also goes by the name DJ’s, apparently refused. Since it’s an anniversary month for that Facebook post, it was re-shared, and from coast to coast people got wind of it. Many, however, decided to not read all of it. They missed the fact that the post was from 2016. Missed the fact that it was directed at DJ’s of Pueblo, Colorado. “Armed” with that lack of knowledge, they decided to come after Gary Rison’s establishment in Clark County.

“Even this morning, I responded to more negativity,” Rison said. He referred to an old restaurateur adage about how one negative review can reach 100 people, but one nice review might reach only five people. This had the same kind of impact.

Comments to DJ’s (the one in Winchester, not Pueblo) Facebook page came from as far away as Arkansas, and Nebraska. People there claiming DJ’s actions on that night to be “shameful,” and “disgraceful.” Rison and his daughter have responded to most of the comments, and many people deleted their negative posts once they had, you know, the facts.

This story could’ve been as juicy as the steaks at DJ’s (Winchester, not Pueblo), if it had been even remotely accurate.

thumbnail_IMG_2979.jpg<div class="Figure-credit" itemprop="author">Michael Berk

“Someone saw the post from years ago, dredged it up, and came after us,” said Ratliff.

Business could’ve been hurt, if even one customer decided not to come in as a result of this. But the irony is what really stings.

“My father’s father was a paratrooper,” Ratliff said of her grandfather. Rison has been known to host veterans at the restaurant for free, or at a considerable discount, on Veterans Day.

“To be that supportive of vets, and to have my name tagged [in a bad way], no, I’m not OK with that,” said Rison.

But it appears as if their local, regular customers know the real story, or maybe they just actually read the post. Either way, this could end up being a positive for DJ’s (in Winchester, not Pueblo). Rison is hearing that people are planning to flock there this weekend.

“I guess it woke up a few and they said, ‘We have to fix this,’” Rison said.

That too shows just how mighty the keyboard can be these days.

thumbnail_IMG_2978.jpg<div class="Figure-credit" itemprop="author">Michael Berk

This article was written by Michael Berk for WLEX .