Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Say What??

She arrived at the fast food restaurant counter, with baby in tow, ready to place her order.  It was at this moment that one thing became very much apparent… this woman of Asian descent could not speak English.  Using a series of grunts and noises, she extended her hand and began pointing to the menu board, trying to express to the man on the other side of the counter which items she wished to purchase.  Compounding the situation was the fact that the man on the other side of the counter was of East Indian descent, and also had a very limited grasp of the English language.

The confused and frustrated looks on their faces were priceless, as each attempted to figure out what the other was trying to say.  Seeing that she was pointing to the menu board, he looked up, and he too began to point.  Item by item, they went through the menu list.  He pointed, she shook her head and pointed again, as though her pointing somehow made more sense than his pointing.  Given that they were both barely 5 feet tall and were not even remotely within reach of the overhead menu board, this seemed about as effective as trying to point out a specific star in the sky on a clear night.  This one?  No, that one!

This continued on for several minutes, until the woman of Asian descent used what little English she did know to yell out “Oh My God!!”, before retreating back into her pointing and grunting.  Hearing this, the Manager hurried over to see if he could offer any assistance.  He too was of East Indian descent, and while he had a better grasp of the English language, that proved not to be of much value in this situation.  He verbalized the menu items one by one to see if anything would register with her. “Would you like pizza?” he asked.  She grunted and shook her head no.  “Would you like french fries?”  She once again grunted and shook her head no.  “Chicken wings?”  Nope that wasn’t it either.  On and on this went. 

After several more minutes of this, and with several patrons deciding to leave the line and go somewhere else for lunch instead of continuing to watch this debacle any longer, the woman finally managed to form a word, and said what sounded like “crispies”.  Several of us who stuck around to see how this whole thing would play out heard this, and looked at each other as if thinking “What the hell does crispies mean?”  The two East Indian men on the other side of the counter looked at each other the same way.  Figuring this went on long enough, the Manager reached behind him, grabbed a take-out menu and an order of small French fries, and handed them to the woman.  He told her they were on the house, "free!!" he exclaimed, and motioned for her to step aside.  While she may not have understood what he was saying, his arm motions were very clear...  He wanted her to move!

Famished from the ordeal, she accepted the offer, and made her way to a table to study the menu further, while she and her baby nibbled away on the French fries.  “Next order please!” yelled the Manager, as he walked away shaking his head, and handing the reigns back to the other little man behind the counter.  So I placed my order.  He got it wrong.  Letting out a deep sigh, I waited for the correction to be made.  As I waited, I looked around me, and came to a realization.  I really need to start packing a lunch.        

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