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Water Today Title November 20, 2017

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Street Beat

This story is brought to you in part by Seismic Waterfinder

Glass of Water Part1


By Jessica Lemieux

It is Monday June 27th at 1:30pm and I am about to kick off a four-day quest. My quest is simple - to go to as many restaurants, fast-food chains and even a few retail shops, in pursuit of a free glass of water. Will people give me the glass of water - despite the fact that I am not purchasing anything else - based simply on the fact that I am a human being and I am thirsty? Will I be met with resistance and pushed to purchase a bottle of water for myself, instead? I will be travelling to several areas throughout the city, dressed in various ways, at different times of day, to see if responses change at all based on certain factors.

Today, I am in Kanata and my appearance resembles someone who has been out working in their backyard for a few hours. Ottawa is a scorching 30 degrees, “feels like” 34 degrees with the humidity, according to the Weather Network App on my phone. It is 1:30pm, which means the main “lunch rush” in most restaurants should be over. Here I go.

My first stop is Boston Pizza. I sit down at a table and ask for a glass of water. The server is pleasant and brings me a glass of water without any hesitation. I’m off to a good start. Next, I go to Jack Astor’s and Montana’s where I march right up to the bar and simply state that all I would like is a glass of water. I am met with polite bartenders, in both cases, who even ask me my preference as to whether or not I want ice and a straw. Scores is up next. I am greeted at the door and, upon stating my purpose, am told, “no problem at all, follow me!” I am also asked my preference regarding straws and ice, and the staff member makes polite small talk about how hot it is outside. Kelsey’s is my fifth stop, where I continue to receive my glass of water without any hesitation. Similar to the employee I dealt with at Score’s, the bartender makes small talk about the temperature outside and how on a day like today, having water is important.

I then shift gears from sit-down restaurants to fast food. I head to Walmart to seek a cup of water from the McDonalds that I know I will find inside. As with my previous stops, my service at McDonald's is friendly and I am given a cup of water without hesitation. I make a stopover at Pita Pit shortly after and I receive my glass of water, no questions asked.

It is now getting to be later afternoon - about 3:30pm - and Moxie’s is up next. I walk in and am instantly greeted by a hostess. I explain that all I would like a glass of water and am met with, “Okay, no problem,” and they head off to fetch my glass from the bar. I follow and stand at the bar, waiting for my glass. I am asked about my ice and straw preference, once again, and am also offered a lemon for my water. The staff member tells me to “Go ahead and take a seat!” Followed by, “You don’t have to stand!” I say thank you, take a seat and sip on my water. I notice that Moxie’s is quite busy and am impressed that the staff member insisted I take a seat at the bar, regardless of the fact that the restaurant was busy with paying customers.

After my stop at Moxie’s, I decided to try out a couple drive-thrus. Up first was Harvey’s. I go through the drive-thru and explain that all I would like is a glass of water. I am told, “no problem” and make my way to the window to pick it up. I am given a large fountain cup with a lid, a straw, and a “have a great day!” I then drove next door to the Mucho Burrito drive thru. I am also met with polite service and given a cup of water. However, I am handed a small cup of water with no lid or straw. The employee apologizes for not having a lid and says that they are all out.

I decide to switch gears one more time as I make my way to the last stop of the day. I head into Pier 1 Imports to see if I will be met with a similar response in a retail store. Upon asking for a glass of water, the salesperson directs me to a water fountain that is just outside the customer washroom area. They are friendly and mention that they would recommend running the water for a few seconds first, as they weren’t sure when it was last used.

That concluded my day. All the folks I encountered today, while on my quest for a glass of water, treated me with nothing but kindness and respect. Everyone gave me a glass of water - no questions asked - and most even inquired as to exactly how I wanted my water served. Potential influential factors may have been the fact that I had a pleasant demeanor and was very polite upon asking for my water, the fact that it was incredibly hot outside, or the fact that is was mid to late afternoon and most places were relatively quiet.

This has shown me that on a quiet day in the suburbs, a free glass of water is no problem.

Email newsdesk if you have had good or bad experiences with getting a glass of water.

Related Story

Can I have a glass of water - Part 2- Ottawa East (Gloucester, Vanier)
Can I have a glass of water - Part 3- Downtown (Ottawa's Byward Market and Gatineau's Promenade du Portage)

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