CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After a customer suggested that servers at a West Virginia restaurant needed to "show more skin," the owner became offended and decided to do something about it.
Owner Daniel McCawley of Atomic Grill in Morgantown is donating all proceeds from the sale of loaded potato skins this holiday weekend to a West Virginia rape crisis center network.
McCawley, who opened the barbeque restaurant last June, said a customer made the anonymous suggestion in a now-deleted post on an online review site.
McCawley, who has a wife, a 12-year-old daughter and five sisters, said the post "just kind of hit home."
"I took some personal offense to it," he said.
Atomic Grill will offer a plate of four potato skins for $7 — two buffalo chicken-style and two pulled pork. Proceeds from sales Saturday through Monday will benefit the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services, which has nine crisis centers across the state. McCawley suggested that donations also could be made directly to the foundation.
McCawley said the skin remark was part of an online comment in the past month in which the customer also mentioned his server in particular. After McCawley became aware of the comment, the server was given a protective escort to her car in the parking lot after the end of her shift for a few days as a precaution.
"The whole thing was a little bit creepy," McCawley said. "We're about good food and good service. It shouldn't be about how much you can see of our servers to dictate the enjoyment of your meals."
Publicity surrounding the fundraiser has prompted supportive calls to the restaurant from as far away as Alaska and California, and McCawley said he's gotten emails from Japan and Ireland.
"It's good that people out there won't stand for this brutish mentality anymore," he said.
Sam Wilmoth, the foundation's sexual assault response team project coordinator, said the group was delighted to learn about McCawley's efforts to address what Wilmoth called "one of those micro-aggressions that our culture has to endure, whether it's typed online or yelled from a construction site, on the street or outside the window."
Responses like McCawley's "show our community here wants a change," Wilmoth said Friday. "We just hope that more survivors feel comfortable in getting the help they deserve and that more women get the respect they deserve."
The fundraiser was first reported by WBOY-TV (http://bit.ly/SoYlEB).
West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services: www.fris.org