Indo-Canadian women claim to hear taunt ‘Surrey’s that way!’ at Gastown bar
Published: November 10, 2013
Raj Khangura 24, (left) Jas Dhillon (centre) and Mandeep Grewal 28, were out for Dhillon’s 26th birthday at The Charles Bar last month. She and her friends believe they were victims of racism because as they left the bar manager shouted at them “Surrey’s that way!” Mark van Manen/ PNG
Vancouver’s Jas Dhillon will forever remember her 26th birthday – a day she’d much rather forget.
On Oct. 19 she hoped to celebrate over dinner with friends at The Charles Bar in Gastown. According to Dhillon, she and her friends – all Indo-Canadian women – arrived for their 6 p.m. reservation and were greeted with nothing but rude service, only to be kicked out of the establishment by 7 p.m. as a bar manager allegedly shouted at them, “Surrey’s that way!”
For Dhillon, that final comment changed it from being bad service to something more serious, she said, because she believes it was in reference to the Lower Mainland city’s large East Indian community.
“That’s ridiculous,” Dhillon told Vancouver Desi. “To be honest, we don’t think that kind of stuff still happens.
“To have that happen in Vancouver, in our own hometown – we were just shocked.”
According to Dhillon, the poor treatment began early in the evening, when she realized they were short a few chairs and sat at another booth , which seemed to prompt the manager to approach her and say she’d be kicked out if she didn’t go back to her table.
“The last thing I want to do is leave – it’s my birthday, I don’t want to ruin the party,” said Dhillon. “It’s six in the evening, we’re just sitting there having a good time … Why is this guy being so rude to me from the get-go?” Upon telling her friends what happened, some wondered if it was racism, but they brushed it aside and carried on with their evening.