Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?Before my shift last night, I chatted with the dinner staff about their night. Anyone who is familiar with people in the service industry will know that we spend a lot of time bitching about people's horrible manners and the generally terrible nature of most humans.
However, last night, we discussed a few of the really nice people that we have encountered. We traded anecdotes about customers who, even when they were absolutely within their rights to complain about something (food cooked improperly, cockroach visitations), chose not to threaten with lawsuits. These same people proceeded with their meals and paid their checks and left generous tips.
"Yes, I had ordered my steak rare and it came out well done, but it was delicious anyway." "Yes, I saw a cockroach, but, hey...it's New York. They're everywhere! Oh well!"
We all remarked about how refreshing it is to encounter such easygoing natures. It's touching, really. And, these are the people who get cocktails or dessert or even a whole meal on the house. I said, "People don't get it. If you are nice, you get free stuff. Why be an asshole?" One of my coworkers said, "I don't understand it. It's so easy to just be nice."
I realized that it made me really sad. We are so surprised to encounter good manners and non-combative customers that we feel moved to shower the really kind people with rewards. It's like laying an offering before the gods, hoping it will encourage future visits from equally sympathetic people.
"Oh my goodness...you said 'Please' and 'Thank you'?!?! Please, let me buy you your meal."
Saturday night was full moon night. I'm not sure if it was actually a full moon, but it felt like it by the way people were acting. It was g8s' birthday and I felt particularly protective of him. His patience with the creepiest of lowlifes is boundless. So, when I noticed a man getting in his face and acting threatening, I had to react. I stepped up to the jerk, mustered up all five feet, one and a half inches of myself and told him, "If you don't get the fuck out of here now, you're gonna get hit by a girl."
I understand that alcohol is a big factor in most of my violent encounters with people. But, I have a feeling that a lot of these people would be assholes even when they are sober. I also realize that these same people feel particularly justified in mistreating waiters and other people in service positions. Absent an official caste system, some people adhere to the misconception that servers are the equivalent of servants. These people operate under the unsafe assumption that anyone in a service position must be uneducated.
The buffoon that I threatened screamed at us, "You can't talk to me this way! I have a college education!"
So do I, buddy. However, it wasn't in college where I learned that kindness knows no shame. I learned that one from Stevie Wonder.*
(From the song, "As" by Mr. Wonder. For those of you non-Stevie fans. Do those exist?)
File Under: Braggadocio