A Jessica

Enjoy the latest story from the blog,
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

Breakfast for dinner was on the menu. We were seated in a peculiarly empty restaurant at dinnertime on a weekend. Hmm.

Still, it took a while for a server to seat us at this “popular” chain. One family of four was in a booth near us. Another across the dining room.

We were eager for a sugar frenzy of pancakes, French toast, and all the staples that come with it.

Our waitress moseyed up to us to take our order. To this day, we can’t be sure what I said about needing her to come back, but she deftly replied in a way I later jested, did anyone get the number on that truck that just ran me over?

I usually look to be the fun table for servers because everyone at the table and I had several jobs in the service economy here and there. And Lord knows, when I worked with bigshots in the financial services industry, I witnessed some reprehensible superiority complexes.

As the saying goes, “I don’t trust anyone who’s nice to me but rude to the waiter.”

One waitress was so humiliated by the COO of my company that when we left, I slipped a sizeable tip onto the table without anyone seeing. But the gig was up when she raced to us at the door, tears of joy in her eyes, saying thank you—thank you—thank you. Suddenly, I felt like my job was in jeopardy: No good deed goes unpunished.

Anyway, everyone at the table had their foodie war stories. So, we try to be the bright spot in a person’s day.

Back to Jessica, our waitress.

I figured she must have mistaken my words or intent, so I set out to win her over. After all, you never know what someone is bringing to the table that has nothing to do with you but soon may be.

It was quite a pause before she came back. But when she did, there it was! I found her funny bone. We all agreed she even seemed stunned by her laugh. So, with our order in and stomachs twisted with anticipation of the sugar injection coming, we were here to stay.

And stay we did. And stayed, and stayed, and stayed. It didn’t matter; we had a great conversation until it faded.

“Shh-shhh, listen,” my wife nodded to the door to the kitchen. We were seated along that wall.

Loud voices escalated.

“You can’t tell me what to do!” Jessica shouted.

“You are on your damn phone all the time. There are people out there. Do your job!”

The back and forth overheard without anyone having to shhh to do so took us aback.

I leaned out of the booth to take a better look around. The father, a few booths down, did the same. Our uncomfortable eyes met. We did the bro nod, then shrugged and tucked back into our respective booths with a false sense of reassurance.

“Look, if you hear gunshots, run for the door, got it.”

Maybe that was an overreaction, but hey, in today’s age, it crossed our minds.

But our order was in.

I can see the headlines later, “Flap Jacks so good, they were to die for!”

Things simmered. But you could tell the tail was wagging the dog back there. Jessica had the control the manager wished he had.

A new character appeared from the kitchen when our hungry bellies had had enough, and we were about to shimmy our butts across the sunken plush booth seats to get the hell out of there.

The young man was obviously the cook without him having to say so, but he did anyway.

He was doing Jessica’s job AND cooking the food! He spoke softly and politely and wore a look that was both apologetic and embarrassed.

If I had not met the cook, I would have paid for the meals without eating and left. But something about this young man’s soul made me know we’d be alright.

And we were. The sugary fix really hit the spot.

Hell, even Jessica reappeared for an encore … AFTER the cook switched hats yet again and greeted a couple at the door to seat them.

We laughed hard at the whole ordeal when we piled back into the car. None of us had ever left a review for anything online, but we were tempted. My daughter pulled up previous reviews. We sat in the parked car, thoroughly entertained by what we were reading. Jessica definitely had her pack of mean girls praising her waitressing and punking the manager.

We asked ourselves, “Is there a name for a Karen on the other side of the equation?”

You know, a pushy and insensitive “me-first” complainer, usually from the suburbs – but server, not customer.

And to all of the poor Karens out there. I mean, one day, you have a regular name, and the next, your name is associated with public enemy number one, like the Beckys before and the Felicias before that.

We couldn’t find any reference for a server-type Karen, so we took it upon ourselves to dub them Jessicas!

What a shame; I love that name.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun! 

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“Wrong Turns Write Life”