Monday, March 14, 2011
To The Red Hat Lady
I've mentioned how entertaining Job #2 is for me as far as the people watching I am privy to. Well, when you work with the public like we do there, to be really good at it, you need to read people. You need to read them to figure out how best to deal with them. When we are busy as sin and have a line out the door, you have to lead the customers, to get them to get on with it and get through the order as efficiently as possible, so you can help all the other people that are waiting in line. I insist, however, that my cashiers remember to be efficient, but not at the expense of politeness. Some of the kids I work with are 18-19 years old, and have to be reminded quite often that some people need a little understanding.
I've also mentioned before that whenever customers come in that are hard to handle, everyone has me take care of them. I'm totally ok with that. Well, this weekend we had the Red Hat Lady.
You could tell that she was an absolute beauty when she was younger. Wavy auburn hair, gorgeous complexion, stunning eyes, tall, like model tall and thin with a very regal carriage. She had on a dark purple sheath dress and a red straw hat. Her husband was very hunched over, but looked like even before he aged, he was probably much shorter than she was. He was using a walker and just barely getting around. They came up to my register. They had come in the restaurant and sat down at a table, not realizing that this type of restaurant was one that you come in the door, wait in the line, place your order, get a number, go get your own drinks, find a table, go pick your food up from the cooks when your number is called. It was incredibly loud and busy, and nobody noticed that they came in and sat down without ordering first.
They finally found their way to my register, but couldn't understand what it was that they were trying to order. Evidently, they used to come to that building when it was a different restaurant many many years ago, and were confused by the changes to it. Once I explained what kind of food we served, the sweet little hard of hearing husband starts SHOUTING out "I WANT BEEF ENCHILADAS!!! AND I DON'T CARE WHAT SHE SAYS, I WANT ME SOME BEANS TOO!!!!" And when I say he was shouting, man, he was SHOUTING as loud as his voice could carry. It was hilarious. So I put his order in and tell him he can go sit down if he would like. Then I turn to his wife, and this beautiful regal woman looks around, then leans forward and quietly says to me "I'm so sorry, but I don't know what things are anymore. I don't know what to tell you to feed me, I don't remember what things are, or what I like, but I seem to think that I like simple things....." So I told her not to worry, that I would put something together for her. Then she couldn't figure out how to go get their drinks so I went with her and did it for her. She couldn't remember if she liked ice in her water or not, so we discussed cold vs really cold. We went with no ice. She had no idea what her husband drinks, so I went to the table and asked him. When I got halfway across the restaurant on my way back to get his tea for him, he screams "AND I WANT LOTS AND LOTS OF ICE, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT!!!" haha. I got him lots of ice.
When their food was ready, I got it for them and took it to them. The husband dug in right away and started screaming out how great everything was. Cutie patootie, he was, had me crying, I was laughing so hard with him. Then, before the wife would eat, she had to show me the pictures and Christmas cards she carried in her purse of her sons, daughters, and great grand children. I listened to some stories about all of them as well. Then I had to show her how to pick up her taco. And unwrap her straw.
They were a beautiful couple, and sweet as pie. It broke my heart to see her trying so hard to function, when she couldn't even remember what things were. She had no idea what different food or drink items were. But she told some beautiful and colorful stories about her past. I felt so blessed to spend the time with them that I did.
Before they left, she asked me my name, and asked me to write it down on a business card. She said she was going to keep it in her purse, in the envelope with the pictures of her family, because that is her "reminder folder". She said that the one thing she can remember, is when she gets confused to pull out that envelope and it would remind her of the important things.
I hope that when she pulls that card out, she remembers where she was when she got it, and comes back in and sees me.
I'll take the 20 minutes necessary to help them any day of the week. I was blessed to share space with them.
In the end, they helped me.
Those beautiful people were good therapy.