Cookies for breakfast, rage, my bagel and mePosted: March 14, 2010 | |
As I mentioned in the Banana In Your Pocket post, part of my routine on work mornings is to stop by a particular bagel shop and grab breakfast to go. I like the people who work there as well as the cast of characters who are the other regular customers. Occasionally, the bagel shop is also a source of strange encounters with people.
So There I Was, Minding My Own Business
Recently I was in line to place my order at the bagel shop. A mother and her young son were in front of me. It was pretty early and I was still a little dazed. I was daydreaming a bit when I heard the mother say “why don’t you ask him?”
Now, encounters like this are not unusual for people in my occupation. We wear distinctive uniforms and kids are curious. When little kids have questions I make it a point to get down on a knee and talk about whatever they want. Kids are great and deserve our time.
The boy didn’t want to ask what his mom seemed to want him to and I certainly wasn’t going to press it. She certainly did press it, to the point it really wasn’t fun for her son and kind of made me uncomfortable. I let it go and made my food order.
“That’s All I Have To Say About That.” Learn It, Use It.
After paying, I was filling my drink cup when the mother approached me again. “Thanks for trying to talk with him” she said “I told him to ask you about cookies”. I let her know it was my pleasure to talk to him. She stood there, waiting for me to say more. I hadn’t really planned to. I sort of wish I hadn’t now.
She stood there. I had to say something, though I’m pretty certain I’d already fulfilled my part of the social contract for this informal encounter. I went back to her words – “I told him to ask you about cookies.” I came out with “generally, I’m in favor of cookies.”
Apparently that was not what she was looking for.
The mom flipped out. She got really loud. “I don’t think he should eat cookies for breakfast. What are you thinking?” I was stunned.
I Did Not Help Make Him
I didn’t catch on that I had a vote in the dietary choices made for her son. People don’t usually consult me on such things. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the last time I had a say in what a child had to eat it was because I helped make him. I did not help make this little boy.
Heads were turning. I felt embarrassed and a little frustrated. I wasn’t sure I’d really done anything to warrant making a scene over.
Perhaps sensing what I was feeling, a man at a table near where we stood said he felt I hadn’t said anything unreasonable. She ignored him. She stood there glaring at me. Against my better judgment I said “ma’am, it isn’t me that needs to know how you feel about cookies for breakfast. I’ve got a mom to tell me that and I’m really happy with her services.” She stomped back to her seat. I left with my bagel and a thumbs up from the guy who’d interjected his opinion.
So far , I have not heard that she called the bosses to complain. I kind of wish I had not allowed this stuper to get under my skin. I’m better than that. I don’t allow people to talk me into verbally retaliating like that.
Maybe I should have caught her drift. Maybe I could have yes ma’am’ed her a few more times and ended it without embarrassing her like she’d done me. Maybe I might have just said I’m sorry, I didn’t understand the question. Maybe I should have just absorbed the haranguing and moved on.
Maybe I should have gotten back in line and bought the boy a cookie.