I had this week’s blog post all planned out, like a good-well organised nerdy person.
Then this happened.
I’m going to regale you with an event that took place only last Saturday. And, if you have a crappy job, or you’re unhappy with the way you’re being treated by someone – you, ESPECIALLY YOU need to read this.
So, grab yourself a hot or cold beverage and get comfy-cozy, as some utterly bizzare real life sh*t is about to go down.
Last Saturday I had a show playing drums at an Austin venue called The Townsend. This awesome little place is situated in one of my fav streets (Congress Avenue) and after a spot of setting up and sound checking, the wife and I decided to try and find a nice restaurant to have dinner.
We did much Google-ing and decided upon an Italian joint only a few blocks down heading in the direction of the capital building.
We walked in, got seated and proceeded to look at the menu.
So far, all very normal.
Our very nice waitress took our orders. I went with the safe option of a margherita pizza. Laran also ordered a cheese pizza, but asked if mushrooms could be added along with extra cheese.
Still, very normal. But this is where things started to get a tad weird.
Our sweet waitress came back to us after putting the order in and said ‘just to let you ladies know I asked the chef if he could add mushrooms to your pizza and he said no. So if it arrives without mushrooms just know that I did ask, ok?’.
A chef that wont put mushrooms on a pizza? That’s a new one.
Anyways….not important. We just laughed about it and carried on with our conversation.
About 20mins or so later our food arrived.
My pizza looked like a pizza. Hurrah.
Laran’s however looked like a LOT of tomato and about 5 blobs of miniature mozzarella. Zero mushrooms.
Laran asked the waitress (we’ll called her ‘Jane’ for the purposes of this story) if she could get more cheese on the pizza as that wasn’t going to be enough (duh). Jane was very apologetic but looked scared as hell….and we were about to find out why.
We watched from the very front of the restaurant as Jane walked all the way to the back, where you can clearly see the chef and the big pizza oven. We continued to watch as she timidly handed him the pizza and presumably told him our request.
A few seconds later he threw the plate back across the counter and proceeded to throw a barrage of insults and verbal abuse in her direction. It was so loud that we could hear it clearly from where we were seated up front.
Having stood there and just taken all of this, Jane walked back towards us, trying so hard not to cry. ‘I’m not having that guy talk to her like that. It’s not acceptable’ Laran said, quite right too. Once Jane got closer to us, Laran asked ‘what’s the chef called?’. Before Jane had even finished the final syllable of this dude’s name, Laran was marching confidently towards him.
One thing I know from being married to this lady for the past 4.5 years, is that most of the time she’s very kind and sweet. BUT, you *really* don’t want to get on the wrong side of her. That being said, in these type of situations where there’s a male chauvinist a-hole involved who has absolutely zero respect for the people around him, it is the most gratifying thing on earth.
In the moments watching my wife walk towards the chef’s workstation, my inner nerd was like:
Now, I’m not in any way suggesting that my wife is a slobbering green monster who hides out in the ocean somewhere – just that she’s basically a pretty blonde haired version of the Kraken, with boobs.
For the first few seconds of their encounter, the chef (let’s name him ‘Bob’ for the purposes of this tale) attempted to speak to Laran the same way as the waitress he’d screamed at earlier. I’m assuming he thought Laran was going to react in a similar fashion. He soon realised that was a very big mistake.
I looked on with extreme satisfaction and pride as a blonde haired chick put this guy in his place in an extremely short amount of time, informing him of how unacceptable it was to speak to his waitstaff like that, never mind the whole lack of cheese and mushroom situation. Very quickly his body language changed, he stopped yelling and stood there as if no-one had ever talked back to him before in his entire life.
Another work college came out and apologised for his behaviour. He also told us our meals were on the house.
We tried to get back to our original plan of sitting somewhere quietly and having a meal before my show. That was a tad tricky. But as crappy as our experience was, poor Jane had to STAY there and work. I watched as she quietly and apologetically served people, trying SO hard not to fall apart and burst into tears.
I worked out how much our meal was and gave it to Jane as a tip. I told her that money was for HER, no-one else. I also wanted her to know that she deserved respect and shouldn’t have to put up with someone yelling at her over really small stuff.
She thanked us. We all hugged it out. As we headed out the door Jane also told us that after Laran had ‘spoken’ to Bob, another table had ordered mushrooms on their pizza and the chef had put them on there as requested.
Maybe he needed someone to bring him back to reality. Or more likely he was terrified that Laran would walk over there and remove parts of his male anatomy if he didn’t add mushrooms or cheese to anyone’s order.
As we were walking back to The Townsend I felt a huge mixture of relief, gratitude and sadness.
Relief – that we were the ones that happened to and could deal with it in a firm but kind way.
Gratitude – that my life and my job as a musician is so wonderful and amazing.
Sadness – that there are people who HAVE to put up with that kind of crap, for what ever reason….and if you’re one of those people, listen up.
Before I was able to become a full time musician, I had countless awful, terrible and super stressful jobs. More often than not, there was an arsehole on the team and 2 jobs in particular I was basically Jane. I was the one getting yelled at (once by a chef) over really nothing at all. I too had to keep it together and carry on serving people. Putting on a happy face. Trying not to burst into a flood of tears for all to see.
I want you to know 2 things.
- You DESERVE to be treated with respect. Period. The end. If you are like Jane, please do me a favour. Walk away. I promise you life will get so much better when you start putting your energy into positive rather than negative people and situations. Believe me when I tell you that I know EXTREME poverty. I know what it’s like to HAVE to work that horrible job or you can’t eat or pay bills. But all the while you’re around that type of energy, the good stuff can’t get to you. Leap and the net will appear. I promise you it will appear.
- Everything will be ok in the end. I endured so many awful jobs for a looooong time and I can tell you that my life right now is AMAZING. I wake up EVERY SINGLE DAY doing what I love. I get paid to play, record and teach MUSIC! You can do ANYTHING you set you mind to. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give negativity the attention and energy it doesn’t deserve.
When they go low we go high – Michelle Obama
Thanks as always for reading this far. Sending lots of good and positive vibes to all the Janes out there. You got this!! ❤