Ah, springtime! Some of you are just returning from spring break and others are flying out the door for off-season. Southern Utah, a cruise, a month in Thailand? Vacation separates us from the mundane routine, including our own kitchens. This leaves us dependent upon other people to feed and serve us.
We entered a quiet, beautiful fish restaurant on the Mexican coast. One other table, a four-top of middle-aged Americans sat nearby. Besides that, we had the beautiful view, the cool breezes and the two servers all to ourselves. For about 10 minutes.
Then, as if the tour bus had arrived (which for our knowledge, it did), diners poured into the restaurant. OK, I exaggerate a bit, but soon the waiters had over 20 new guests suddenly needing service. The table next to ours had finished, and one of them whistled at the waiter and made the international “Check!” sign in the air.
The server, a Mexican in his 40s, promptly approached. “What was that?” he asked. “Check!” replied the American (again with the sign). I watched the waiter straighten his back and clear his throat.
“I assumed you had lost your dog. Do you think that is what I am? A DOG? Anything else you would like me to fetch? I should excuse your behavior. Maybe you think you cannot communicate with me because of language? Have you never heard the word ‘Senor?’ or ‘Por Favor?’ Do you think you cannot catch my eye like a human being? You are used to the boys at the fancy hotels, bowing and kneeling to the great American? I am not a boy, sir. I am not a dog. I am a man, working an honest job to support my family. I am a man.” He drew his fist to his heart, set down the check and walked away.
I could have cheered. I think my dining partner did. He crossed to our table and with remarkable composure apologized for disturbing us. Disturb us? He was one of the highlights of our trip. He had eloquently displayed his pride in himself and voiced the angst of servers worldwide. Not one tip from one table would ever make him submissive and obedient. We stayed hours longer than we had planned, telling war stories and finding a common bond.
So enjoy your vacations or the memories you just made. Use the time away to have patience during the crazy seasons here. When someone serves you food or cleans your room, each encounter is a chance to meet someone you will remember years later.
Whether a person who waits on you is a friend or a perfect stranger, whether they speak your language or not, no employment position deserves to be disrespected. None of us are dogs.