Allegedly some people played golf today. I didn’t really have time to pay attention to anything. I can’t quite break down the day. I didn’t stop much at all. I was allocated two team leaders who had never done work like this before having to learn in front of the guests how to do it. Even though I had asked every single one of them their experience when they signed in, and had a good handle on them and knew who would do well in those positions.
Thankfully they both rose in their own ways. One of them smiled all day and just was ace. The other was brilliant in a different way. Big hearted and kind, and a bit older than me. She had a commendation in the local paper for saving two students from a fire. She’s funny, caring, nuts sparky and full of talk. And quite astonishingly slow on the floor because she’s making friends with everyone. To the extent that I honestly didn’t know how to speed her up, so co-opted the girl I had wanted as my section leader to assist. She helped sort it out but things was already so far behind by that point. She’d taken “We are a yes restaurant – If the guest asks for something, web try to say yes” very literally. I adored her, but she tried to offer everything turned everyone. No matter how many times I asked her to just stop talking so much, and offering the world, she kept on doing it.
At one point, in a crowded service, she came up to me and said “I’ve promised someone burger and chips because they don’t like anything on the menu. Where do I get that from?” Facepalm. “Let me go and talk to them.” We are in the middle of a field on the coast. I could probably get a takeaway brought in site…
I went over to talk to them and only then I find out it’s a kid with leukemia on Make a Wish Foundation. And all I want now is to get him a burger and chips. And it’s in the middle of a crazy service. If I was in a smaller restaurant with fewer people watching me I could’ve ordered something in or left the floor and found someone to help me source it. But there is a veritable army of observers at this time, all making notes in books and looking like someone has just kicked them in the knee and they can’t work out if it was on purpose.
Apparently they had a tough time last year in this room and lots of complaints. So loads of people are just there during service. Standing round the edges. Watching like hawks. I greet them cheerfully and they react as if I’m not supposed to see them and I’ve shattered their invisibility field. The weight of their scrutiny is heavy. I’m staying in the floor and doing nothing out of the ordinary under that scrutiny. Literally all they care about is the exact timings of service and whether or not I’m smiling. My specific interactions with the guests are uninteresting to them despite them being the heart of what I care about. They want quantifiables. So I have to toe the party line as best I can.
My manager is not around. Although if he was and I told him a kid needs a burger, he would shut down the conversation with his hand and then say one word repeatedly until I go away. That’s his way. I’ll give it a miss.
I didn’t get the kid his burger. I feel really bad about it. I wish I had been able to. He got some plain chicken and he was alright with it. But he didn’t even want to try the things on the menu. They just sounded too complicated. And I wanted him to have a lovely meal by his standards. It was the devil’s own job to even get him a plain ham sandwich. There’s no point getting snippy about “He should expand his horizons.” No he shouldn’t right now. He might only have a few months to live. Get him whatever he wants! If it hadn’t been first service crazytime I’m sure we could’ve rustled up some more familiar stuff.
So when the dour watchers stopped piling on the pressure with their klaxon like “invisible” scrutiny of our first day, I went up and took off my managers open golf pin badge from my jacket. I gave it to him. It felt like a symbolic gesture considering what I’m feeling with the way we are being treated so far this week. He was thrilled. It was literally the least I could do.
I hope he got some good autographs. He went to the 18th hole after he’d eventually got his plain sandwich from me for tea. I barely understand the golf so the names he showed me were unfamiliar. But I hope he got some of the people he loved. And I hope he liked his pin.