Waiting tables is inherently awkward, yet even more so when you stick your foot in your mouth…
For all of you who are reading this and know me well (and by all I mean my boyfriend’s mom, Becky, and my own mom, whose laptop is probably underneath a couch cushion right now), you know that I have somewhat of a sense of humor. Sometimes, however, this sense of humor can get me into a LOT of trouble.
the tricky part is…my humor is my defense mechanism. I use it when I don’t know people, when I am pretending to like people (my job), when I’m new to something or in an unfamiliar setting…pretty much all the time. sarcasm, Cynicism, weird voices, strange faces, you name it. I accept the good and the bad that come with my humor….
But one day…one day I almost lost my job because of my sense of humor.
I had been working at this restaurant for about 6 months, long enough for everyone there to at least understand my personality.
So it’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night…and the restaurant is SLAMMED! Our restaurant clientele mainly consists of old people, white people, and old white people….so when I get sat a table of four Indian people, three of which are wearing turbans, I’m wondering if this is all simply a coincidence….or if our hostesses truly thought I would ‘get them’ better given my Middle Eastern ethnicity (you be the judge).
Regardless, I walk over, greet the family of 4 (2 children, 2 adults-typical). The conversation began with:
me: good evening? may i grab you or your daughters a drink?
dad wearing turban: those are my sons
(Oh ok, they just have braids down to their tailbone. I’m 0-1 already)
me: Oh my god I’m so sorry, I just glanced really quickly and saw their long hair.
father: it’s not a problem…we’ll all just have water…and my boys both have dairy allergies.
me: I’ll be right back with those waters and I’ll be sure to inform a manager of your allergies (making direct eye contact with the boys, as if that compensates).
I go off into the mayhem that is our open kitchen on a saturday night. My fellow employees are all running around like maniacs, laughing, crying, often at the same time. I turn to MaryBeth, ‘MB’, (who is by far one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my entire life) and in an extremely sarcastic, Ahlam-esque sort of way, I say…
me: hey MB, whenever you get a sec, no rush, go say hi to my dad at 323 really quick. He’s stopping by for dinner
MB totally got it. She understands the difference between Indians and Arabs, she understands my slight frustration with the pairing of ‘ethnic’ guests in my section, and she knows me.
I continue on with my night, grabbing two rolls for my guests who have just been sat. As i drop off the bread, I notice my manager over at the turban table. Oh no, is he mad? I didn’t mean to call them girls, it’s not so obvious, you know? But wait, why is my manager smiling so much? I inch closer…
my manager: again, Mr. Chehabi, we just want to let you know what an asset your daughter is to this company…truly a gem. you’ve done a great job raising her
dad with turban: (stares up with furrowed eyebrows…silence)
my manager: it’s so great that you and your daughters could have dinner with us this evening…enjoy
(this can’t be happening, I run up to my manager)
me: “that’s not my dad! that’s not my dad!”
manager: “you’re joking, right…I heard you tell MB that your family came in to say hi?”
me: “no no i was joking!! send me home, I want to go home”
manager: “so you got me…you did this to trick me?”
MB: (doing the pee-pee dance from laughter)
I ran in the back shaking, convinced this night was my last.
And to top it all of… the boys’ allergies needed to be brought out to the table by the same manager that just called this Indian dude with a turban my dad.
Needless to say, my manager did not speak to me for the whole night. I thought he was contemplating his ‘ we’re sorry, but this just isn’t working out ‘ speech.
He didn’t fire me, but he should have. As for the family with two boys that look like girls and 3 turbans, I’ve never seen them back at the restaurant again. This was 4 years ago…
insert foot into mouth.