Hooters Cards An 80-Year-Old Customer, Refuses To Serve Him Liquor

Hooters customer Charles Johnson

When Charles Johnson ordered an alcoholic drink with his lunch at a Hooters in Florida, the server asked for ID. Johnson didn't have any, so called for the manager of the Jacksonville location, who reportedly said that it was restaurant policy: Anyone who asks for alcohol has to show proof of age. Johnson said that he stormed out, offended, and vowed to never return. "I haven't been asked for ID since I was 35 years old," Johnson told local TV station WTSP. "I am 80 years old."

Places that serve alcohol to minors face harsh penalties, from the suspension of a business's liquor license to steep fines for the seller, and even a permanent criminal record. And while these laws have been around for decades, the police seem to some to have become more vigilant in the past few years about enforcing them. So some businesses have become more vigilant, too, even if that means refusing a person as old as air conditioning. (Air conditioning was invented in 1932, according to About.com, the same year that Johnson was born.)
Joseph Villanueva, an attorney in Westchester County, N.Y., says that in the past 24 months he's received more phone calls from businesses seeking help against police charges than in the past five or six years.

"I think because of the amount of undercover stings that take place, you will definitely see most businesses now conducting these types of ID checks," Villanueva says about requiring proof of age from any customers, regardless of how old they look.

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Some Hooters restaurants have been busted recently in decoy operations. Police caught a San Bruno, Calif., Hooters serving alcohol to a minor this summer. And in 2010, a Hooters in Colorado Springs paid a $533 fine and lost its liquor license for 12 days for giving alcohol to a minor and a visibly intoxicated person.

Hooters could not be reached for comment about its policy, and how long it's been in place. But the "delightfully tacky yet unrefined" chain (which is how Hooters bills itself) is certainly not alone in demanding ID from all its drinking customers.

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Whenever a cashier at the big box store, Target, swipes an alcoholic beverage, he or she must scan the customer's driver's license or another state-issued, valid, picture ID to allow the purchase to go through (alternatively, a supervisor can manually type in the details). This happens "regardless of age," says Target spokeswoman Jessica Deede.

Another chain restaurant, Applebee's, only requires patrons who appear 30 or under to show ID at their company-owned outlets, according to spokesman Dan Smith, and gives that as a guideline to their franchises too.

Villanueva says that blanket policies are "prudent," but some obviously-of-age Americans don't agree. Elderly people who no longer have a valid driver's license may be particularly irked by these rules, while others are simply ticked off to have their adulthood called into question by folks who hardly appear to be adults themselves.

One grandmother in Britain
marched out of her local corner store in a fury when the clerk refused to sell her a bottle of whiskey unless she produced a picture ID, even though she had her over-60 bus pass and a pacemaker certificate.

Charles Johnson claims that he will never go back to the Hooters in Jacksonville's Baymeadows area again -- or any other Hooters for that matter. He refuses to give a place his business, he told WTSP, if it fails to use "common sense."

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omg leave the poor man alone hes not under 21!

November 25 2014 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My God, can't common sense prevail in anything?

January 18 2013 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whatever happened to good old common sense?

Maybe a group (20+) of seniors that are obviously old enough to drink, ought to go into Hooters and then tell the server, "Sorry we're leaving", when asked for ID.

November 18 2012 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alot of high and mighty types here today. Allas, ignorance at its finest as alot of people havent asked the most important question before opening mouth and spouting off. Why are they getting carded?

1) Some states have laws that everyone has to be carded regardless of their appearance. Even if the person is 100 they have to be carded and state control agencies check using minors and elderly. Happened to the local bar here. They didnt card a 72 year old man who was *undercover* and got busted.

2) Most large retailers and grocery stores registers will not complete a liquor sale without scanning your ID. Takes the decision making out of the clerks hands and makes it mandatory for everyone. Covers the businesses butt.

3) Every single state actually has a no sale of alchohol without ID law. If every state simply enforced that law, everyone would have to get carded just to make sure they have an ID. If they did that though state law makers wouldnt be able to waste their time and our money rehashing the same laws every year as triumphes and would actually have to tackle important issues.

I have noticed one curious trend when it comes to the people I have seen that get upset about getting carded. They almost always say they dont have one yet drove to the establishment. See it all the time at gas stations. Wonder if someone should tell them it is illegal to drive without a license...

November 17 2012 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What? He doesn't look a day over 21! :)

November 15 2012 at 6:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He should have taken it as a compliment. This is what happens when folks are forced into extremes, common sense no longer prevails. When I saw his age I thought perhaps he was upset because they did not have viagra on the menu.

November 15 2012 at 5:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill's comment

Your reply was idiotic at best. When commonsense is not practiced in any business, it no longer has earned the loyalty of anyone offended. I'm 68 and would act the same way that this 80 years old did. Why do you post such childish and immature statements? It only makes you appear not as intelligent as you would like people to think of you.

November 15 2012 at 6:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 14 2012 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ms. Morris

yes i believe carding an obvious senior is kinda crazy.. but seriously... just show your id if they ask.. is it seriously that big of a deal?. the guy/girl is just doing their job. I also can't stand when people get upset over showing their id when using a credit card. seriously people...they only ask to make sure it is only you using your card. I bet the same person that gets upset over that would get really upset if their card was stolen and used and the cashier didn't ask for id then... in both theses situations the worker is only saving their behind or the customers...

November 14 2012 at 10:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ms. Morris's comment

He should have shown it and then asked for a senior discount.

November 15 2012 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Methinks there are too many regulations and too many idiots enforcing the exact letter of the law. When I was 18-21 years old I just carried some older buddy's license and got served--when they asked for it. The regs just make cheats out of us all. And then asking an obviously honest old timer for Id is ridiculous. Seating next to him is some kid with a fake ID downing his shots like crazy! The rules just don't work--the cheats drink and the honest die of thirst!

Matt Dillon and Kitty never looked for ID at the saloon--those were the good old days before big nanny government took over our lives. (Vote Libertarian!!!)

November 14 2012 at 8:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Learn to read lips and you would be amazed what the waitresses
at Hooters say when an older guy comes in for a beer.

They seen to think only the young studs are worth their time to wait on.
Sorry gals! Young guys don't tip as well as us "OLD FARTS" !

November 14 2012 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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