When I left you last week, I was in the middle of my tale about a surly waitress named Lena. Basically, what happened was that my family and I were having dinner at a Japanese steakhouse known for their fine food and excellent service. Our experience there did not prove this to be true at all. In fact, it turned out to be quite the opposite. The food was great, but the service…..well, let’s just say horrendous would be an understatement.
To continue my story, our first encounter at the restaurant was with a lovely mannered waitress who approached us to take our order. We told her we were interested in the chicken teriyaki sushi appetizer, but noticed it was prepared with crab meat. Since we do not eat shellfish, we clarified with the waitress that we would like our appetizer to be prepared with only chicken in it. She agreed to our request.
As we waited for the sushi to arrive, along came Lena, who, for some unknown reason, replaced the original waitress. Lena served us the chicken teriyaki appetizer which, lo and behold, turned out to have crab meat in it. A heated verbal battle ensued (mostly from Lena’s end) about whom should take responsibility for the mistake. Lena got more and more combative as the debate progressed.
We, of course, felt that we had done due diligence by instructing that the sushi be made without the crab meat. Lena fervently disagreed by responding in a most astoundingly belligerent way. It took us by surprise because it certainly was not like any waitress we had ever encountered before. You can read more about the whole fiasco here.
I could see that this incident was escalating into a debacle, which I wanted to avoid. If you follow this blog, you know that I have had my share of jumbled messes. This time, I was determined that things would go more along the lines of U Love (at least from my end). Lena was making my ideal difficult. As the argument reached its pinnacle, Lena must have felt it was time to exit the scene, because she abruptly turned on her heel and hightailed it far from us. I knew at this point, it was time to get the manager involved. We desperately needed someone to infuse reason into this situation.
The manager approached us with a big smile and a gracious demeanor. From the onset, it was apparent that she knew the proper protocol for handling thorny situations in her restaurant. She immediately put us at ease. We told her our pitiful tail of woe, and she immediately apologized for the error with the food, the inconvenience, and Lena’s extreme rudeness.
However, what she did not offer us was a solution to our problem. She told us that the restaurant owners would require someone to pay for the sushi, no matter who made the mistake. It would have to be Lena or us. Wow! What restaurant makes a customer or employee pay for a mistake?! Usually, they just replace the food or remove the charge for it from the bill. Apparently, neither resolution would happen here. I can tell you that, by then, we just wanted to hightail it out of there, too!
To make matters worse, as we were talking with the manager, Lena returned to our table several times to hurl insults our way, even resorting to calling us liars about ordering the sushi without crab meat! In the end, Lena was exposed as the one who was completely distorting the truth. But, by then, Lena’s viciousness was more than I could take. A response seemed predictable. As calmly as possible, I explicitly told Lena that she was absolutely the rudest waitress I had ever encountered, and that we wanted nothing more to do with her. My husband apparently had his fill of the events, too, because he quickly paid the bill (including the cost of the uneaten sushi); and, ever the gentleman, left Lena a tip (can you believe that???); then guided us out of the restaurant (where you can be sure we’ll never return).
As I think back on the occasional unpleasant situation such as this that is inevitable in life, I always measure my actions against the U Love standards. Sometimes I succeed at U Love; other times I do not. But, I do always try to be victorious at showing unconditional love. Nevertheless, I don’t think that U Love would require me to be a doormat for a contentious, rude waitress. So, I feel okay about expressing to Lena in a firm, honest manner that her behavior was completely atrocious. And, even though I was being unjustly provoked, I was able to display self-control rather than anger.
In an effort to act on the principles of unconditional love, my husband had decided to pay for the disputed sushi and to leave Lena a tip. I reluctantly agreed. I saw his point that even though Lena had substantially wronged us, he didn’t want her to bear the financial consequence of the circumstances. We understood that, even though Lena had performed her job very poorly, she was still trying to earn a living. We concluded that the unconditionally, loving response was to not make her pay for her wrong against us. This is how God U Loves us, and, so, we tried to exemplify Him.
I hope by sharing my story, others will be encouraged to keep their cool during unfair circumstances. In this tumultuous world we live in today, we can all afford to show each other more unconditional love.
Please join our U love chain here!