Monday, April 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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Dante’s for sale

DANTE'S ON THE RIVER is on the market, listed for sale. The owner has been the subject of controversy, with a case pending review at the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office regarding possible charges of vandalism and brandishing a weapon. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

REST STOP FOR SALE - Dante's on the River is on the market. The Italian restaurant that also specializes in chocolates is located in Whitehall along Highway 50. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

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From page A1 | January 19, 2011 | 41 Comments

Kevin Cairns, the embattled owner of Dante’s on the River restaurant, is sticking a fork in his most recent business venture.

Cairns, 50, has placed his Whitehall-area establishment on the market, the Mountain Democrat learned.

According to David Bolster of ERA Realty, Cairns placed the fine-dining restaurant up for sale in mid-December.

This past weekend, a billboard advertising the property was placed along Highway 50, near Dante’s.

Although Cairns bought the restaurant in 2004, Bolster said he and his family were ready for a change.

“They’re ready to move on and start the next chapter of their lives,” he said.

Cairns’ asking price is $499,000, which includes the 2,000-square-foot restaurant and bar, as well as an adjacent two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment.

All told, the property is just under 10 acres.

Since the billboard went up, Bolster said he and partner Kim Miller have received several inquiries but “no serious prospects at this point.”

The restaurant will remain open while it is on the market.

Cairns is the third owner of the restaurant. In the mid-1940s, the eatery was known as McCann’s. In 1975, it was purchased by the Alioto family and was renamed Alioto’s.

After Alioto’s closed shop, the property was vacant for nearly a decade until Cairns opened Dante’s.

Cairns’ decision to sell comes amidst accusations of vandalism and brandishing a weapon after a late November 2010 altercation with a motorist.

Joseph Goodrich, 36, told El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies he pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot to tend to a carsick child. Goodrich felt he was unable to stop anywhere else because of the snowy conditions.

Cairns reportedly approached Goodrich, flung snow at his vehicle and told the motorist to leave the parking lot.

When Goodrich confronted Cairns, Cairns reportedly called for his dog.

Goodrich is believed to have returned to his pickup truck at that point, but Cairns followed the victim with a piece of wood and hit Goodrich’s vehicle at least twice, causing damage, according to authorities.

Cairns was then said to have waved the piece of wood at Goodrich, who was seated in his vehicle.

Cairns was arrested at his restaurant later that day on suspicion of vandalism and  exhibiting a weapon.

As of Tuesday afternoon, charges had not been filed against Cairns. The case is currently under review by the District Attorney’s Office.

Cairns has had other parking lot-related incidents over the years. He was arrested in 2006 on suspicion of assault with an electrical device and making terrorist threats after allegedly attacking a Georgetown man with a stun gun.

He was eventually found not guilty of a single misdemeanor assault charge in connection with that incident.

Also in 2006, deputies responded to the restaurant for a call of trespassing after a young woman used the facility’s restroom without paying Cairns’ posted $5 fee.

When she did leave the restaurant, Cairns reportedly followed her outside and used his vehicle to keep the girl from leaving while he awaited deputies.

Attempts to reach Cairns Wednesday were unsuccessful.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at jratajczak@mtdemocrat.net or call 530-344-5071.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 41 comments

  • James LonghoferJanuary 19, 2011 - 5:57 pm

    Still haven't filed charges? Mr. Gomes, I understand -- it's such a complex case.

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  • barf2010January 19, 2011 - 6:15 pm

    At that price the dump will probably be on the market for ten years. Part of a plea deal with the DA?

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  • HangtownJanuary 19, 2011 - 6:32 pm

    One of many soon to be empty restaurants and bars in El Dorado County.

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  • Lady JaneJanuary 19, 2011 - 10:37 pm

    Going to miss the carpaccio. Overall an amazing menu. http://dantesontheriver.com/?page_id=22

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  • KristinJanuary 20, 2011 - 1:57 am

    So glad to see that this man will no longer be able to harass people.... hopefully he will close the place while it is on the market!

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  • JaysonJanuary 20, 2011 - 2:11 am

    I understand there is a new item on the Dante's menu: 'Justice'.....consider it served.

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  • Brad QuarryJanuary 21, 2011 - 9:16 am

    I can't say that I'm sorry this business is going. When the carpaccio is served with a cold glass of violence, it's hard to say you're glad the owner's part of this society.

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  • James LonghoferJanuary 21, 2011 - 9:53 am

    Apparently his main motivation was to protect his septic system with almost deadly force. What does it cost to drain a septic system? I'm going to guess $500 as I have no idea. Even if he had to have it serviced monthly shouldn't he have considered this a tax deductible cost of doing business? Then there is his parking lot which had to be protected from any and all. If his lot was filled with customers, I could understand his not wanting the last parking slot filled by a non-customer causing a real customer not to have parking. But, every time I've driven past his lot is empty save one or two cars. Strange.

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  • Mike HamershockJanuary 21, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    I will miss the food. Guy seems lie a crackpot, but I never had an issue in the 4 or 5 times I ate there. Besides, half of El Dorado county residents qualify as crackpots. Myself included. ;)

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  • JasonJanuary 24, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Thank god he is going. I had an incident in his parking lot also. As James said above I could understand if his parking lot was full, but i have never even seen more than 1 or 2 care in it. The man is a menace and I'm glad he will be gone before someone tosses him in the river.

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  • LbrownMarch 20, 2011 - 9:41 am

    It has nothing to do with the lot being full or not it has to do with , are you coming in to dine to have a drink to buy some chocolate, if not then you are simply just trespassing , their parking lot is NOT a rest stop or a vista point , it is a private business on private property and they have the right to ask you to leave if you are not there for a monetary purpose , I have been there on numerous occasions when people would just park their car barge through there little gate and walk down to the river as if it was their right or it was a vista point , however it is in fact their backyard( yes they own the acres behind their restaurant) , would you be OK if I drove up your home and simply just opened your gate and walked into your yard , I am confident the answer would be no , and just because their property is a business in a very pretty setting does change the game..... the next time you have to clean up your neighbors dogs poop from your front lawn , think about doing that on a much larger scale of vomit , human feces , Urine , dirty diapers etc and then take a moment to understand that this happens in their parking lot EVERYDAY ......

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  • MaryJuly 19, 2011 - 12:30 pm

    Should've been drowned long ago.

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  • Derek FassioJanuary 24, 2011 - 7:31 pm

    Longhoser... and many of you other "writers"...Why are you so such haters? He has not even been charged. Let it go. Write about some serious convictions of perverts or murderers. If he has an anger problem, it's his problem, not yours. Get a life and move on...there are weirdos everywhere. You are being provacative by the slanderous words you write, so am I. Should our lives be ruined, then, because we write in anger? Yeah, you can use clever words to run me too, because it make you feel keen. I'm sorry Dante and myself are not as perfect as you think you are. Again,get a life. Walk the dog, clean the car, vacuum the carpet. Be productive yourselves. Now I am being a hypocrite, I gotta go.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • James LonghoferJanuary 24, 2011 - 7:40 pm

    Mr. Fassio, I'm not perfect -- however, cannot remember the last time I dealt with a problem with vile words or a 2X4. I don't hate Mr. Cairns -- strong dislike of his behavior would be more accurate. True, he hasn't been charged. As I said (above) it's such a complex case. Longhoser, that's cute -- more middle school talk.

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  • Derek FassioJanuary 24, 2011 - 10:11 pm

    Less than 9 minutes later you respond to my comments. Why are you obsessed with this? It is immature, but I have, in the past, used vile words in problems. You really never have? Wow, Alah is pleased. I'm just an imperfect human. At least I'm honest. Quit smearing and verbally flogging. Just how many times have you commented here? You say it's not hate? Is satire implied by using the word complex? Yeah, we can use "middle school talk" on the computer all night, and 2 month for you, but Dante is at least man enough to say it to your face. What is not vile about your passive aggresive behavior? Just smile when there is a knock on the door and a bag left burning with dog defication in it. Try some vitamin D and protein. Uh, oh...I'm being a hypocrite again, this is nonproductive. I'm not gonna respond to you no matter how you belittle me, Mr. Negative Longhofer

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  • James LonghoferJanuary 25, 2011 - 11:13 am

    Mr. Fassio, I am replying 13 hours after your comment. A nine minute response means I'm obsessed -- what does 13 hours mean? Ah, and slander is speech, libel is written so I can't have slandered. And, for both truth is an absolute defense. Mr. Cairns, is that you? And if you do the dog do do thing on my porch I'm sure the cops will be able to locate Mr. Fassio or who he might really be. And, don't kids at 16 outgrow the dog do do thing?

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  • J. OthersideJanuary 26, 2011 - 4:10 am

    I too will miss the fine-dining experience (at least Mt.Demo. got that part stated correctly), this was one of the few local places I could take my family and feel comfortable and safe about them being there. The Cairns did a great job keeping members of the stump-jumpers club at bay for so long. But I'm also glad the Cairns are getting out of harms way, we have great memories of time spent with them. Always an empty parking lot? For six years? Not likely in the restaurant biz, think those comments are missing something. Funny with all the slam dunk evidence discussed in other blogs that this has now turned into such a complex case. Maybe the realization that they may have once again arrested the victim has indeed thrown a wrench into the process?

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  • James LonghoferJanuary 26, 2011 - 12:25 pm

    Mr. Otherside, IF he is a victim, victims are not allowed to deal with their victimhood with deadly assault unless it is physical self-defense. In which parking lot situation did Mr. Cairns feel in imminent fear of his life justifying self-defense. Excusing his alleged egregious behavior with the food he serves is very thin soup. In face, soup of 100% water. As I have previously said in other threads, I once went to Dante's for lunch. The parking lot had only one other car. I pulled in, shut off my car, looked to my left and saw him rushing out and advancing quickly towards me with not a pleasant look on his face. I got out of my car and walked directly at him and said Customer! He immediately faded away. I wondered how he had time to actually cook food (he must have an assistant who cooks while he acts as the parking lot monitor). A very strange man.

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  • J. OthersideJanuary 27, 2011 - 12:18 am

    Deadly assault, JL? Who died? No one. Not even a bruise. Not in this case nor in any of the previous altercations. In which Cairns was cleared of any past wrong doing as the story reports, a point you seem to constantly choose to miss. This isn't about perceived harsh looks. Imminent fear? The story reports that Goodrich CONFRONTED Cairns after being identified and asked to leave as a trespasser. Did Goodrich act reasonably by turning around and immediately removing himself from the property when told? No, he CONFRONTED the property owner. Did Cairns reasonably believe that unlawful force which would cause bodily harm or worse was about to be used on him? Then he lawfully does have justifiable self defense, and would indeed be the victim. Period. The food defense is entirely your fabrication, along with the use of a 2x4 as a weapon.

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  • Jason SanchezJanuary 27, 2011 - 8:22 am

    J. Otherside.... Either you are Mr. Cairns or Mr. Goodrich. Any other scenario, and you don't know anymore than we do as to what actually occurred. What DID occur was that a police report was filed, and Mr. Cairns was arrested and booked for the previously mentioned offenses. If you were there, as you apparently are intimating....since you are describing the scene vividly.....then as a credible witness for the side of Mr. Cairns, why did you not relate your side to the officer/officers on the scene, and swear out a complaint on Mr. Goodrich? Where were all of the MANY patrons you say frequent Dante's when this was going on? Where is their complaint against Mr. Goodrich? Until you can come up with anything credible, other than spouting off in defense of your friend, I think you're full of it.

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  • J. OthersideJanuary 28, 2011 - 4:34 am

    J. Sanchez, everything I have commented on came right out of the the original news story, verbatim. How do you know whether or not my statement or anyone else's are on file? Your comments are entirely derived and speculative, the very definition of being "full of it".

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  • In Defense of Dante'sJanuary 29, 2011 - 8:55 am

    I drive up 50 about 2-3 times a week and see Kevin outside infrequently. Only on a couple of occasions have I seen him talking to someone in the parking lot and I have never seen him threatening nor using any sort of weapon. It is unfortunate that Dante's is the first place you come to on 50 after quite a few miles and some of the sharpest turns on the road. I can see why people would be sick or need to use a restroom. Why is the county not helping out the citizens of this county by installing some pit toilets along the highway in a couple of strategic spots so that there is a place to stop. It is not a problem specific to Dante's, anyone who has that business will have issues until the county addresses the need for rest stop/bathrooms along this corridor. J. Otherside is not the only one who will miss this restaurant and he has clearly read the original news story. Some of the other commenters should give it a read. I try to go there as much as I can afford. The owners are very nice and are just trying to make a living. We need to support them in the endeavor.

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  • SHJanuary 31, 2011 - 8:00 am

    Glad he's leaving, that guy is a nutjob. Maybe when there are new owners my family will go there. There is no excuse for his behavior, and its not like it was a one time offense. He's unbalanced and unpredictable - not the kind of atmosphere I'm looking for when the family wants to go out to eat and relax. The service industry is a poor choice for a man with that mentality and short fuse.

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  • J. OthersideFebruary 01, 2011 - 6:32 am

    As Mike Hammershock commented, SH's analysis can apply to anyone for any reason. Rumor and innuendo will convict everyone eventually. Thankfully the legal system requires factual proof before one is guilty of an offense, unlike this forum. New owners will not solve the problem as long as tacit permission governs trespassing law.

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  • In Defense of Dante'sFebruary 01, 2011 - 9:17 am

    @SH, when you say he is a nutjob, is that from personal experience? Do you have a business in ElDoCo? Are you familiar with the red tape and hoops that one has to go through to run a business in California? Have you talked to the Cairns about people who have defecated, urinated, and vomited in his parking lot? Dealt with Bay Area people who feel they are entitled to use ANY property as their own, even when asked to leave politely? Dante's is one of the best places to eat in ElDoCo, if not THE best. When the Cairns leave, we all lose, your Guilty until proven Innocent attitude goes against the very foundation of the legal system in this country.

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  • CD LaneFebruary 01, 2011 - 10:43 am

    Ok so violence is not the answer. But I have had a lot of experience with all of the owners of the property. Starting with McCann's and going through Dante's. By far the nastiest and least community oriented family was the Allioto's. They had the same issues with parking and a far less welcoming attitude to people who live in the area. The Carin's have always more than accommodating. It's a shame that people can't respect their right to treat their property as their own. Dealing with a car sick child is all well and good but what if I drove into your driveway and proceeded to let the child vomit on your doorstep. Is this OK with you? I have seen more that my fair share of people use this area a their personal toilet. Leaving their garbage for someone else to pick up. Just who do you think that someone else is? Why is this OK?

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  • SharonFebruary 02, 2011 - 1:11 pm

    I have not personally witnessed any of the reported or posted violent behavior from Mr. Cairnes, but as a business owner of a small restaurant, I can attest to the frustration of the use of a business restroom by the general public. Unless you have owned a restaurant, you may not realize the expenses incurred to maintain a restroom, and you would hope everyone would realize it is for patrons of the business only - not a general public restroom. There are the costs of maintaining the septic system, toilet paper, paper towels, water bills (very high in our area) as well as the staff to clean up after folks who make a mess (polite way of saying it), cleaning chemicals etc. I can't even begin to imagine what Mr. Cairnes was going through - tens of thousands of cars go by his location. I'm not saying he was right to be violent, if he indeed was, but it would be wonderful if people would understand private businesses are just that, and parking lots and restrooms are for patrons/guests only - it is private property. Please be respectful! Thank you

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  • johnsonFebruary 03, 2011 - 9:51 pm

    my brother and I are talking to our realtorabout this we are thinking of buying the bilding

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  • LbrownMarch 20, 2011 - 9:25 am

    Good luck with that Johnson , do you really think your experience will be any different then the last three owners( they have all had this issue and as stated above the Aliotos were the least accommodating )?? And do you have any clue about how many hoops they ( the Cairns) had to go through just to get the bathroom installed in the first place , a bathroom in a business comes with heavy stipulations from the health dept. one of which is that the bathroom is for paying customers only , not to mention the 1000.00 a month septic bill on top of all other expenses , mortgage , insurance, payroll etc etc etc , I am sure the first time you have to clean up used condoms , dirty diapers or vomit , you will be running the other way crying , because by the way these things happens in their parking lot ON A DAILY BASIS , so yo somehow think you are going to have a different experience ,wow ...

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  • In Defense of Dante'sMarch 20, 2011 - 9:49 am

    Lbrown, dont discourage him, lets see how johnson deals with this daily barrage of "crap". What are you going to do with the place, johnson?

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  • HangtownFebruary 04, 2011 - 5:39 am

    Mr. Johnson, if you buy the building, let someone else spell the wording on the new sign.

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  • VialledemilleFebruary 04, 2011 - 6:49 am

    Great comment Sharon. As a small business owner on Main in Placerville, I too have restroom issues. Water costs out of sight, messes left behind it is sickening. And in response to Mr. Longhofer $500 bucks about right for septic service, but with lots of usage you get lots of pumping, and weather it is a write off or not a person still has to come up with funds.

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  • J. OthersideFebruary 08, 2011 - 1:21 am

    Finally, some factual comments on the issues! Anyone else read the news story about the "gentleman" sentenced to 8 months in prison for going to the bathroom in a store in Sweden? He was convicted of assault and molestation and ordered to pay restitution. If only our own legal system pursued these matters similarly instead of harassing and arresting the victims, the hard working business people trying to make a living. My family stopped at a Wendy's in Rancho Cordova last weekend. The restrooms required a token to unlock access the entire restroom, not just the toilet. Clearly and obviously this issue is not unique to Dante's. I'm amazed Wendy's doesn't get sued for discrimination, torturing entitlement-seeking customers, etc. etc. ad-nauseum.

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  • Brad QuarryFebruary 08, 2011 - 3:50 am

    The other FACT in this matter is that one cannot attack another with any sort of weapon in retaliation for rudeness. Would the law be on my side if I smacked someone upside the head with a book (I read quite a bit) because they mouthed off to me? Absolutely not. Should the law be changed to accommodate this type of behavior? Again, absolutely not.

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  • LbrownMarch 19, 2011 - 2:11 pm

    Just a question for all the obviously uninformed folks that have posted above here , show of hands , how many of you would like to have a bag of vomit thrown at you , and how many of you would like to clean up dirty diapers, vomit and urine etc off your driveway , on a DAILY basis for years??? Make no mistake this is a daily occurrence and just because their property is a business on a busy highway does not make it any different then your property , think on that, I mean really sit and think about how that might make you and your family feel having these vile things happen on a daily basis ... I can't imagine that any of you would be OK with these things.... And for the person that referred to the septic bill, try 1000.00 a month and for a small business that is hardly peanuts...

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  • LbrownMarch 20, 2011 - 9:14 am

    Actually Brad you do have the right to defend yourself on your private property against trespassers , burglars etc . If you read the article it actually says that the violator was asked to leave after Mr. Cairns determined that he was in fact a trespasser not a customer...

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  • J. OthersideFebruary 15, 2011 - 2:27 am

    That's great, Brad. How about posting something relevant to the FACTS of the story?

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  • In Defense of Dante'sMarch 20, 2011 - 9:47 am

    The Mt Demontract should do an article on the Sheriff's response (or lack thereof) and the DA's prosecution of the current owners. What is their motivation? They sure do not seem motivated to help out a taxpayer, but they do to use our tax money to prosecute a citizen, one who probably brings in quite a bit of revenue for our rural area.

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  • FruitTingleMarch 23, 2011 - 9:23 am

    I am not in the least surprised by these events. Part of me feels very sad for Mr Cairns and the other side is saying "Sucked in you total bastard" seeing as I have experienced his violent behavior first hand. If only he could understand that people driving by don't know about his septic tank issues or parking lot issues. If you are reading this Mr Carins, consider this; One of the single most important aspects of a successful business is good customer service. Waller cited recent findings in customer service. A typical business only hears from 4 percent of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96 percent quietly go away. Of this 96 percent, 68 percent never reveal their dissatisfaction because they perceive an attitude of indifference in the owner, manager or employee Waller said this statistic is particularly dangerous for businesses because if a dissatisfied customer can’t express their complaints to a business, they’ll express them through other outlets such as friends, neighbors and family. A typical dissatisfied customer will tell eight to ten people about their problem. One in five will tell 20. “It takes 12 positive service incidents to make up for one negative incident,” Waller said. “Seven out of ten complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor. If you resolve it on the spot, 95 percent will do business with you again.” http://www.customerservicepoint.com/bad-customer-service-tips.html Because of Mr Cairns erratic behavior most of your potential customers never get to your front door because of his gorilla bullying tactics. I predict that you WILL go out of business before you are able to sell up if you don't change your way of thinking about approaching the public.

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  • Leave him in jail, that's where he belongsMarch 24, 2011 - 5:58 pm

    This is for those of you who continue to defend Mr. Cairns & are posting on mote than just this blog. Until you have witnessed yourself his crazy and unacceptable behavior, you have no place to defend his behavior. Less than 2 weeks ago, a couple & their children stopped at Dauntes because of an emergency; their child had gotten sick in their car. Let me say it again "their car"! The father went into Dauntes and politely asked for a napkin to clean up his baby in a car seat & was denied. While he was being denied help, his wife and children were being harassed by both Mr & Mrs Cairns. As a matter a fact Mr. Cairns was making racial comments calling them "Black Pigs" (their very favorite statement to say "PIGS") The only problem with Mr. Cairns being in jail is that his wife isn't there with him!

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  • DmitriyAugust 26, 2012 - 9:10 am

    I had the same problem with that guy when my 3 year old got sick and I had an emergency stop. His wife came out and start yelling at us and after I told her to chill he call her husband. He seems to be a crazy guy who belong to jail. WE DIDN't even use his restroom. WE just needed to have an emergency stop. My wife force to leave immediately because we had a kid in the car. If I wouldn't have a son in the car It will end up pretty bad. I still have a pictures of his crazy wife. He even hit my car twice when we were leaving. I would love to come to the court to testify!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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