I was proud this week of Lewes' Tom and Chris King, owners of King's Ice Cream and a prime example of what it means to have class.
There's an article in Friday's Cape Gazette about a recent incident at King's Ice Cream in which patrons were not willing to be served by young women from Russia who are in our area working at Kings.
We have a large number of young people from many countries in our area each summer. We depend on them to help fill the many service jobs our summer resort economy demands. They come to us from Russia, Poland, France, the United Kingdom, and other European nations.
In this case, a patron balked at being served by someone "not an American." I hope that this particular boob was a visitor, and not one of our own. It seems likely, since people who live here are well used to waiters and counter staff with accented though usually perfectly serviceable English.
It just seems wrong to object to guest-workers in an area such as this, where the demand for vacation homes and hotel rooms has driven housing costs so high that few working people can afford to live close enough to the beach to be able to fill the many jobs needed to feed, clothe and entertain all the vacationers.
We have to have student workers. If some proportion of those workers is from other counties, we should welcome them and take advantage of an opportunity to learn more about the nations from which many of our own forbears came to America.
Tom King showed his practical side when he posted a sign in his business saying that he is proud to employ young people from Russia and hopes his patrons will join him in welcoming them to our shores.
Tom and his wife Chris showed an extra level of class, though. According to the news story, they have welcomed their workers into their home as well, giving their temporary staffers room and board in their house while they are working here.
One of the problems we face in having so many summer workers, domestic and imported, is housing them fairly and safely. Man of these young people are treated badly and taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords.
Good for Tom and Chris King. I'm proud to have them as leaders of the Lewes business community.
Update: The story that prompted this post is now available on the Cape Gazette web site (Some customers reject foreign servers at King's Ice Cream). Also, the Tuesday edition of the paper includes a great editorial cartoon and some letters to the editor about the issue, one rather strongly worded. (Note: The two last links here will not persist past Friday, 7/14.)