Years ago, I worked as a children’s counselor at the hotel at Dixville Notch, NH. My boyfriend at the time was the swimming instructor and lifeguard. It was a fun job, and while we didn’t see much of each other during the days, it was a beautiful place to work. When we had a little time off, we enjoyed mountain climbing and also riding into town on my boyfriend’s motorcycle.
As our hours were pretty different, we never did have time to eat together. One evening when I was having supper, I knew I couldn’t possibly finish it by myself. I quietly asked the waiter if I could box up my left-overs and also get another meal to go. I planned on seeing my boyfriend that night, and having a late dinner together.
Well—my quiet request turned into this: the waiter said snottily and LOUDLY “you want your leftovers and another meal boxed up?!” People at several tables around me turned to stare. By then I was beet-red with embarrassment and told the waiter to just forget it all. I paid for my dinner and left the table feeling the darts of other people’s eyes on me as I walked out the door.
Seriously, there was no need to be like that; the waiter was being an uber prick. I know that he pretty much hated all of us “newbies” as he had worked there for years. Thanks to that embarrassing encounter, I pretty much lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of the summer, and I just stayed out of his way.
Believe it or not, I am still embarrassed about that. I wonder to this day if that waiter ever turned into a relatively nice human being. Or perhaps he remained a snarky jerk for the rest of his life. Perhaps he got his rich reward; a vicious wife who griped and bitched and pissed and moaned from dawn til dusk. Who knows; perhaps he turned into a semi-decent human being.
But it is absolutely the truth that people may not remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.