Last night information went viral very quickly about a restaurant in Knoxville that asked Sen. Stacey Campfield to leave their establishment. Owner Martha Boggs who owns the Bistro at the Bijou asked the controversial politician to leave to make the point that any discrimination of anyone is painful and she went as far as to prove her point by showing him the door.
Campfield has gone from irritating to dangerous as we have seen in the last few years going as far to spread false information about AIDs, citing that heterosexual women cannot get the disease and a great deal about monkeys and … well you get the picture which grabbed national viral status.
How this helps our economic business climate is a question that Campfield’s colleagues might want to ask him when he isn’t out commenting on blogs fighting with activista about information that is 30 years old.
What is significant about what Boggs did is, as a business owner, she refused him the right for service in the environment that she had control over. Boggs, according to her Facebook page, has owned and operated the Bisto at the Bijou since 1993. She made a point that resonated with many Tennesseans who reacted immediately and mostly in favor of her actions. Her Facebook page exploded with joins last night and positive reinforcement, Twitter was buzzing and all of this occurred just moments after she asked him to leave.
There are lessons here. Boggs showed that small business can make a huge difference and hopefully investors outside of this state will see not everyone here is as misleading as Campy and Raymond Floyd. (Head to Rachel Walden’s for all of the frightening nonsense that was sent out of elected officials this week.)
There is a difference between denying someone service at a private business and denying civil rights to people, so any argument is invalid. I’ve seen business owners ask people to leave before. In this case though, it was to prove a point about discrimination. If the online conversation was any indication, this small act by Boggs meant a great deal to a whole lot of people.
You will always find true change outside of government who can change perspective and show courage in doing what is right instead of just following along the status quo. Good for Boggs.
Update: Chris Sanders has an interesting find about one of Campfield’s donors. LINK