I consider myself to be one of the nicest people when it comes to interacting with anyone working in the retail/restaurant industry. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be pretty nice to you. Unfortunately, this philosophy has backfired, portraying me, instead, as an asshole.
Many years ago, when I was younger and prettier, a group of friends and I brunched in downtown Memphis’ Texas de Brazil.
I always enjoy the attention from servers in high-end restaurants. Our hostess navigated us to our table, numerous carvers paraded the dining area with large skewers of meat. After being seated by the window, the young hostess provided us with our dining cards: one side red, one side green. As long as the green side of the card faced up, carvers presented their skewer and asked if I wanted their meat (giggity).
As the six of us were flourished with offerings of meat (giggity) from attractive men in aprons, I noticed that my party was too engaged in conversation to politely acknowledge the hard-working carvers that stopped at our table. Instead of saying “no, thank you” or “yes, please,” my friends only broke eye contact with each other long enough to glance at the skewer presented and communicated their preference with a mere gesture of their hand, a slight wave away for “no” or a point towards their plate for “yes.”
Halfway to being substantially stuffed with meat (giggity), a scruffy, handsome carver stopped at our table. He had such a beautiful smile, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hear him over my friends’ boisterous discussion. Feeling ashamed that my friends were being rude to someone who probably woke up hung over on that early Sunday morning, I intended to show him some respect.
Okay, fine. So maybe my true motive was to earn this handsome stranger’s favor. After all, I was younger and prettier and intended to take full advantage of it.
“Guys, you may want to hear this,” I said authoritatively and waited until a hush fell over our table. I turned back to the cute carver and said, “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
The smile on his handsome face melted away. His gaze fell to the floor as if embarrassed. As we waited for him to speak, I wondered what caused his sudden change of mood. Was he uncomfortable with the attention? Did he recognize an ex-boyfriend sitting at our table, ashamed to be working as a carver? Was he stunned speechless, enamored by my chivalrous action and desperate for my phone number?
And then he said quietly, “Would you like the f-f-f-f-f-f-f-filet mignon?”
His change of mood suddenly made sense. This unfortunate, minimum-wage worker assumed I pulled all of my friends’ focus onto him so we could hear him stutter for our amusement.
After an awkward silence, we all quietly said, “No,” and our carver left, head hanging low.
My friends all turned their attention to me, wordlessly expressing their disapproval. Suddenly, I was the bad guy.
In my defense, why would this poor man’s boss make him offer customers filet mignon with that speech impediment? He could have served chicken, pork shoulder, or rump roast. However, though, because of this misunderstanding, I will never know what his meat tasted like. Giggity.
by Cary Vaughn (2014)