Fired Up

I have never been treated so rudely in my life in an eatery as I was today. The non-hostess tossed the menus on the table, quickly turned her back, went to a far table and tinkered with the phone in her hand Everywhere I go, I try to speak the local language as much as possible. I was in Italy so I did my best at speaking Italian. This was a Chinese restaurant in Mestre, Italy. I stood and approached her to place an order. She looked as though I somehow inconvenienced her. I placed our order and asked for tap water. She went to the see-through kitchen window pointing back at us over her shoulder with her left thumb to tell the cooks something,sounding sarcastic-they all laughed. She resumed her spot at the table with her phone. It should have tipped me off when I saw that we were the only people in the place. There was food on the walls at every table. Not once after the elder woman of the place brought out the food did the younger woman make eye contact, even look in our direction. Not once did she ask if we wanted anything or any deserts or anything else. I once again stood to ask for the check. I paid the bill in full then I inquired to the extra €6 on the bill. She said it was for the tap water. I explained this was a bit high and she turned her head as she shrugged her shoulders indicating she didn’t care. As we began to leave, I turned to head to the restroom. She stood guard in front of the bathroom as if to block me from using it. I smiled and politely asked for the toilet. It was a small victory that I secured for our family.

I can understand expecting immigrants to a new country to learn another language to be proficient where they would work and live. However, I would never expect someone visiting the US to be an English professor upon arrival for a week long visit. Part of the joy of traveling is to learn the language as you go, make mistakes and learn from the locals. Maybe she was having the worst day of her life and decided to take it out on us (and coincidentally rip us off at the same time). Maybe she was going to be deported out of Italy or could not make ends meet. I know not the reason. It’s no excuse for the crappy service or blatant rudeness. I shall pray for her. I shall also warn you incase you should step out into Mestre, Italy.

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