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$4 dollars… Really?

Dear Mr. Edelman or is that Dr. Edelman?

Let me tell you a little story. My grandparents, like many others, came to the United States with nothing more than a few dollars and the clothes on their backs. They worked for very little pay and had to deal with racism and poor working conditions in order to support their family. Now the family of Ran Duan, (owner of a Mom and Pop restaurant in Boston) immigrated from China and decided to open up a Chinese restaurant. Their restaurant started to expand but unfortunately couldn’t yet hire a PR department to deal with folks like yourself.

As a Harvard Professor I do believe you have enough money to pay the extra $4 dollars that you were overcharged. Instead you send an email, actually multiple emails, that are utterly condescending. Threatening to sue over $4 dollars? Are you kidding me? Here’s my problem. You emailed and he said he’d pay you back. He apologized and said the menu was removed. He took all the correct actions after you let him know about price discrepancies. Does he deserve to have his restaurant taken away by a lawsuit?

I am currently in college and my professors and teaching assistants are the most kindhearted people. They bring food for the class, they share about their lives, and they talk about the injustices in our society and set out to change it for good. So is this what you are teaching your students? To downright scare a Chinese restaurant owner and threaten to sue the hell out of him?

I could say more but I really don’t want to waste my time. Actually in the amount of time I spent writing this I could have hopped on over to a local Chinese restaurant and ordered a meal. Oh, you said the Chinese food was delicious!  I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

I’m asking you to step back and to think about what you are doing. Think about how ridiculous this is. And also think about how you are representing Harvard, your students, and most of all yourself.

~Melissa Yeung

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