So a few of my friends that are reading this story might remember this story, and might've actually seen it happen.
This will be another one of my great costumer service stories. I once worked as a hostess at a restaurant in Alaska. This lodge was part of the Princess Cruise lines, so anyone that came into our restaurant had come off one of those cruise ships. Our costumers tended to be ages 65 and above for some reason, (guess they're the only folks who can afford cruises anymore).
My job, essentially, was to lead guests to a table, let them know who their waiter would be, soup of the day and excuse myself to go sit some more people. There was a delicate system to this, believe it or not. Each waiter was in charge of about 5 tables, and we were supposed to give at least five minutes in between each table that we sat in their section. This way, at least to the guest, it seems that the waiter appears right away and is ready to serve you, while at the same time still taking care of 4 other tables. (I will forever respect you waiters.) Well, of course sometimes we would lead guests to a table and they would see a table close to a window, and they'd point at it and demand that they sit there. Not sure how, but it was always a table that the waiter had just had a table sat in their section. Well, if we were to follow the "Customer is always right" idea, we'd sit them there and they'd have to wait 5 minutes for their waiter to show up and then they'd be mad about it. So, as a hostess, we'd try to explain why they could not sit in that desired table by the window. I had so many guests get mad at me.
"Oh I can't sit in a booth it sits me too low"
"Oh I can't sit in a chair, it hurts my back! I need a booth!"
"It's too dark here,"
"It's too light here!"
"It's too close to that other table"
"I don't like being in the corner"
"Can I sit there?" - said by a party of 1 person pointing to a table meant for 6....
"I want to see out the window" - said when it was completely dark outside.
"I don't want to be near people" - (said even after looking around and noticing every single table was full)
And many many more. I believe we kept a quote sheet at one time.
Anyway, here comes my best story of being a hostess: One day, I was waiting for the Lead hostess to tell me where to take a party when I noticed this man kind of harassing the lead host. I heard something about the upcoming election, and something about "You have to vote Trump, Hilary's an idiot, how could you possibly vote for her??" and so on.
The host, poor girl, just shook her head at him and tried to explain that she couldn't vote, (I forget the reason why, I think she was too young).
She finally manages to pass him off to me, though he was quite reluctant to follow me into the restaurant because he wanted to keep arguing with the girl (though she wasn't arguing back).
He asks me where I'm from and I tell him "Utah."
"Oh, Utah! You must be Mormon!"
Not wanting to lie about my religion I nod and let him go on talking. Big mistake.
I lead him to a table in the corner of the room, and I was stupid enough to let myself get stuck between two tables while I let the man and his wife sit down. He keeps standing and blocks me from getting out of his way.
"Well if you're a Mormon you MUST be voting for Trump!" He points his finger at me, almost touching my chest. This is when my body starts to panic a bit. A strange man as me backed into a corner and he has invaded my 6 inch bubble of personal space.
"Oh, just because I'm a Mormon doesn't mean we are all voting for Trump" I say, mainly because I was kind of irritated that he would stereotype us like that. I hadn't really made any decision about the election at the time (I wasn't happy with either candidate).
"But your religion tells you that you HAVE to vote for Trump!"
I snorted at this. "I don't know where you heard that, but it isn't true. We are just told to vote for the best possible candidate."
"Yeah, but if you vote for Trump, he's going to make it so that your religion can tell you how to vote! and that's what the mormons' want!"
Okay, so now I'm really angry at this guy. He's blocked me into a corner and I can feel my heartbeat rising and my ears turning red. (Not sure why, they do that when I get angry or panicked).
"The mormons are not that way at all sir. They believe in freedom and they would never ever take that kind of control."
"Yes they would, that's exactly what the mormons believe" He keeps saying.
I've set all the menus down, deciding there is absolutely no use in telling the man what the soup of the day is or who his waiter will be tonight. I had to get out of there.
I had to violate my first rule about how to handle guests and I abandoned all courtesy. I shoved past him, saying something like "You're waiter will be here in a sec" and then his wife jumped in front of me. Today, I honestly can't tell you what she said, cause I don't remember it. It was something Trump-related and she was accusing me of something because she was pointing her figure at me too. I remember their voices were loud and people were looking at us. I think I went into a panic. I stopped listening completely and my body immediately went into survival mode and how to get out of this situation alive. I'm not even sure I let her finish her comment. I literally shoved past her and walked away. They called something after me, but they didn't follow.
Once the panic tension in my body was released I started to freak out a little. I tried to hold back the tears, but that wasn't going to happen.
My friend Ray, (a busser that worked there) passed me and stopped me, saying that he saw the guy harassing me and asked what was going on.
"Oh he just figured out I was Mormon and was trying to tell me what I believe"
(I may have cleaned up his dialogue)
"What the F-?? I'm gonna go over there and tell him I'm a mormon!" and he gave me a hug and then ran over there. Not sure what happened after that. Pretty soon I had all the waiters hearing the story and they were all shooting dirty looks at that table. I felt bad for poor Natalie who was actually serving them, but she seemed to have a good "I don't deal with crap" attitude that kept them at bay. I believe later they told her her tip would depend on who she was voting for. Jerks...
Anyway the entire restaurant seemed to unite with me and laid a full on attack against this table. (Attack meaning my supervisor went and had a chat with them, to which, when she walked away they said "She's got Hilary written all over her butt" (Again, I cleaned up the dialogue).
Everyone else just glared at them or made loud snide comments about Trump. (Kind of the only way for us to fight back without getting fired).
It was pretty awesome. I had to take a step outside to calm down and get my nerves together. It was one of the few times in my life where I actually panicked so bad that I cracked. It was raining that day, so there I was, standing in the rain in the back of the restaurant. One of the new waiters, I didn't even know his name yet, he'd just come in a few days earlier came out to talk to me.
"Look... I know we don't even know each other yet, but.. do you want a hug?"
I laughed a little and he gave me a hug. You're a sweet guy Caleb.
I avoided their table after that. (The head host was kind enough to make sure that when I led a party to a table it was far away from the politically charged couple).
So take this as a lesson for all: Don't harass the people who are serving you food. They can do all kinds of things to your food. And when you hurt one employee, you'll get the entire restaurant after you. Also never EVER talk politics in a restaurant full of people from all over the country.
And above all... don't ever tell someone what their religion believes in, when you yourself don't even know.