'Angela' standing by at Ottawa bar to help patrons out of bad dates
Code phrase prompts staff at Ottawa's Bar Robo to intervene discreetly
Are you on a date that isn't working out? Do you feel like you're not in a safe situation? Does it all feel a bit weird?
That's the password behind a global safety campaign that's been adopted by Bar Robo in Ottawa's Chinatown neighbourhood.
The idea is simple: If a patron's Tinder date is going sour or they're feeling harassed, he or she can go to the bar and ask for Angela, prompting trained staff to step in and discreetly deal with the situation.
"Our customers can feel safe bringing any potential issues to attention."
Posters describing how "Ask for Angela" works are near the bar's front door and in the gender-neutral washrooms.
May said the business decided to adopt the campaign, which originated in the U.K., after learning that one of their clients had a negative experience on a particularly busy night at the bar.
"There was an incident that did occur and we could have done a much better job of handling it if we had known," said May.
i saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire !!!! <a href="https://t.co/oO45I7gaJL">pic.twitter.com/oO45I7gaJL</a>—@iizzzzzi
'A great 1st step'
"I think it's a great first step, but it can't be the only solution," Ferderber said.
"One of the most important ways that staff can prevent sexual violence is keeping an eye on people who are over-intoxicated."
Ferdeber said venues serving up alcohol and entertainment should understand that their responsibility for their patrons' safety doesn't end at the exit. She said sexual predators often target vulnerable and intoxicated victims, and the assaults often occur at another location, after the victim has left the bar — and the opportunity to ask for Angela — behind.
"Unfortunately in the service industry there has been an attitude [that] if someone is overserved and heavily intoxicated, we kick them out, and that does not help keep people safe.
"So what we need is door people, security, bartenders to not let someone who is vulnerable go out of the door."
In the two weeks since Bar Robo introduced the campaign, no one has asked for Angela.