A sign was placed outside the Low Road Cafe in Windsor the day after the online stoush. Picture: Facebook
A sign was placed outside the Low Road Cafe in Windsor the day after the online stoush. Picture: Facebook

Cafe stoush: When it stopped being about the highchair

It's the cafe row that broke the internet.

Now that the owners of the establishment have had their say, the Brisbane mum who originally sparked the furore weighs in.

Since we gave the cafe owner the right of reply in The Courier-Mail, here now is the complainant's story in her own words:

 

 

Low Road Cafe response after Ms Lindsay left a one-star review due to the messages she started receiving jafter she shared a public comment and response to a parents group. Picture: Facebook
Low Road Cafe response after Ms Lindsay left a one-star review due to the messages she started receiving jafter she shared a public comment and response to a parents group. Picture: Facebook

 

It's not about the highchair. Sure, it started when I left some feedback on a local cafe's Facebook page under their special of the day which said "Hey there. We would have loved to have tried this morning, but we were very disappointed when we arrived to find you don't have a high chair. It's the first cafe I've come across that doesn't. Appreciate it's your business and your choice, but it means that families like ours aren't able to enjoy your hospitality and support a local business. Cheers Kylie."

But that's where it stopped being about the highchair and became a shocking litany of abuse and bullying online.

 

 

 

One of the initial responses to the polite feedback on the Low Road Cafe’s Facebook page. Picture: Facebook
One of the initial responses to the polite feedback on the Low Road Cafe’s Facebook page. Picture: Facebook

 

The one-star review Ms Lindsay posted after she said people started bullying her online for leaving and sharing polite feedback. Picture: Instagram
The one-star review Ms Lindsay posted after she said people started bullying her online for leaving and sharing polite feedback. Picture: Instagram

In response to that very polite feedback I left, the cafe owner told me it was my loss and called me "Karen" which in meme speak is that irritating, entitled woman - much like the ex-wife who takes your kids.

The cafe's supporters jumped on the post and told me I was being "a massive sh*tface to small business" to "Don't forget to go f*ck yourself" to "Go to Maccas" and that I'm a "loser c*nt" and a "sook."
They also looked at my social media profiles and attacked me for my politics, which as far as I am concerned has no relevance to my feedback.

That post raged for an entire day on the cafe's Facebook page, but was eventually deleted sometime before Monday morning.

Every business is entitled to their own prerogative and same for their customers.

We voted with our feet and had breakfast at a wonderful local establishment that does supply highchairs.

For me, this whole saga was actually about standing up to online bullying and trolling - putting my hand up and saying "hang on, this behaviour is not ok."

 

 

Another Facebook attack on Ms Lindsay
Another Facebook attack on Ms Lindsay

 

 

 

 

One of the many public comments aimed at Kylie Lindsay under the Low Road Cafe's business Facebook page last week, before the comments were deleted. Picture: Facebook Messenger
One of the many public comments aimed at Kylie Lindsay under the Low Road Cafe's business Facebook page last week, before the comments were deleted. Picture: Facebook Messenger

So it's no surprise that after this treatment I left a one star review. And in response to my one star review the cafe called me an arsehole and said that my Facebook profile tells them I'm a racist too.

Of course, I wasn't going to take that bullying behaviour lying down, but I wasn't expecting it to hit the media either. I guess when you respond to a cafe review by calling that person an arsehole and a racist, you're really opening yourself up to trouble.

I had already declined a number of requests to speak to media on the issue when the Courier Mail contacted me and said they were running a story regardless of my input.

This story was whipped into a frenzy by the trolls, whose page views and comments made the story trend in the top place for a few days, resulting in international coverage of the spat. It could have been much bigger if I'd said yes to the subsequent requests that flooded in.

 

 

 

Some of the public comments on the Low Road Cafe's Facebook page directed at Kylie Lindsay last week. She claims to have been bullied publically and via private message by cafe supporters following the sharing of polite feedback to an online parents group. Picture: Facebook
Some of the public comments on the Low Road Cafe's Facebook page directed at Kylie Lindsay last week. She claims to have been bullied publically and via private message by cafe supporters following the sharing of polite feedback to an online parents group. Picture: Facebook

Even though I told myself not to read the comments on the first story, I can tell you there are 684 comments in 24 hours, mostly from a core group of what can only be described as trolls.

Some of the gems from these people included "good god woman, you don't know when to stfu do you." "Hai guys, bored mother here." "Headline should read bored housewife seeks attention." "Pissed off an entitled ranga."

And of course a special shout out to Jody who told me "My titties are drying up from the stress lol."

I was also sent vile emails by gutless wonders using fake accounts to my work email address and unsolicited messages on messenger. I got called a slob, an entitled pig and told I made the world sick.

 

 

One of the emails sent to Ms Lindsay's work email. Picture: Kylie Lindsay
One of the emails sent to Ms Lindsay's work email. Picture: Kylie Lindsay

 

One of the many messages sent to Kylie Lindsay via messenger after she shared feedback to a local cafe last week. Picture: Kylie Lindsay/Facebook Messenger
One of the many messages sent to Kylie Lindsay via messenger after she shared feedback to a local cafe last week. Picture: Kylie Lindsay/Facebook Messenger

I'm not telling you any of this to try to make you feel sorry for me. I can handle it. These are standard bully tactics and I have no problem staring those people down.

What I do want you to think about though is this: What are we teaching our children if this is the way conversations go?

The bottom line is, this kind of behaviour is not okay in the classroom, the workplace or the playground, so why should it be okay for adults?

We all worry about how our kids are going to cope with social media and online bullying. Well we need to set the right example by calling this behaviour out when we see it, because if we don't, our lack of action provides silent approval to the perpetrators.

So here's what I'm asking you to do. Do not tolerate bullies.
If you see them bullying someone else, stand up for them.
If you are being bullied, call them out.
Remember that if you disagree with someone, you can still be civil to each other.
If you have a problem at work, talk to your manager and Human Resources.
Do not stay silent.
If this little storm in a teacup has taught me anything, it's that bullies and trolls are only tough till you take it right back up to them, and then they crumble and fall like a tonne of bricks.



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