The Haughty Waitress

By Manuel Ndagije

Sometimes people do not like to treat others respectfully yet they expect respect from others. Regardless of where a person is, there is a need to cherish everyone, especially in places where we interact every day, such as restaurants. Normally, I do not go home to have my lunch during work hours because my home is far. Instead, I often go to a restaurant that is near my work place. One restaurant nearby is called African Sweet Food. This restaurant became my favorite because whenever I ate their food, I felt like I should not stop even though I had had enough. One day in mid-December, I invited my friend there so that he could also test the sweetness of a meal at that restaurant.

Our lunch time at work took one hour and we arrived early so that we could eat hot food. My friend and I both worked in the same department at Urwego Drug Store: I was the operations coordinator and he was the assistant coordinator. He became my friend because he was understanding and his communication was smooth compared to other colleagues. For example, one day when I felt a headache during work hours, he noticed it because I kept holding my head with my arm. I had not told anyone and he was the only one who decided to approach me. He told me that I look very tired and I should go home to rest. I learned that he is a person who respects other people.

After reaching the restaurant, I ordered two plates of chips and chicken plus soup for both of us. We started eating. My friend appreciated the food with just one spoon. I told him that indeed, the food was sweet as usual and I liked the way the restaurant was so clean, which meant there was nothing like diseases that could affect a customer.

I had a call from my girlfriend, who said that she wanted to eat and she was so hungry. I had been in a serious relationship with her for three years and we were planning to get married soon. A day had passed without seeing her and when she called me, I felt so nice. I started smiling and in my mind I thought, “my baby misses me so let me pick up.” She was home but felt like eating sweet food from a restaurant and not food from home. When she told me she was hungry, I told her that I was at a restaurant and it was easy for me to order food for her. I decided to order another plate in a take-away container. I stood up and told the waitress that I needed another plate and I would carry it with me on my way back to work. The waitress agreed to put the food in the take-away plate but she told me that I would have to add 650 Franc. However, her tone was not good. She raised her voice and was speaking while looking down, which was a bad sign. I told her that it was not an issue for me to add money. I realized that there was something wrong with her tone but my friend and I ignored it, thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal.

My workmate and I finished eating. I told the waitress that we were ready to go and I needed my take-away container. I had ordered chicken and rice together with oily sauce. Unfortunately, the container was leaking. When I checked it, I found that it had a hole underneath.

I told the waitress that the take-away container was leaking and I asked her to change it. The waitress replied while shouting, “Why are you so annoying hee… I think you don’t need food, take it like that or leave it.” I was shocked to see that kind of reaction from her. I asked myself, “How will I carry food with a leaking container yet I paid for it?” My workmate was silent throughout all of this, but he looked surprised at what was happening. I was embarrassed that my guest had witnessed me being treated like that from a restaurant that I assured him was my favorite.

I decided to leave the food and I told my workmate that we should leave. I called my girlfriend to tell her this. On the call, we decided that I would send her some cash through mobile banking and she could find something to eat by herself. Though I sent her money to buy food, she did not have the appetite to eat because the food was not brought by me. What pained me most was that my girlfriend stayed hungry the whole day because I was unable to bring her food.

I still walk by this restaurant often. Sometimes, my mind tells me to go back one day but my other mind tells me not to. In my mind I fear, “What if you get disrespected again?” One time I was knocking off from work and I spotted the waitress on the road and we looked at each other. The look she gave me was not a good one. She looked somehow angry. In my head I wondered, “What have I done to this lady so that until today she can give me this kind of look.” I decided to look away and keep moving. But now I wish to go back to the restaurant and talk to her. I do not need her to apologize, but I do need peace with people around me.

7 March, 2023