Dialogue and Connection Between People

One Sunday afternoon my family and I stopped at a restaurant for dinner. There had been issues with the food and service during this meal. It seemed the kitchen and wait staff needed additional training in some areas. At this particular restaurant, the bill is paid for at the front with a cashier instead of paying the waiter at the table. After the meal, I paid before asking to speak to the manager. My intention was to explain to the manager what issues we encountered without identifying who the waitress was. I wasn’t angry about the issues, but it seemed a little training would remedy the situation and I had no interest in anyone getting in trouble. After explaining the issues to the manager, he looked at me blankly and said “I am sorry Sir; I don’t see what the problem is.” I asked what he meant, stating that I thought I explained the situation very clearly. The manager nodded agreeing that I probably did, but admitted to me that he wasn’t really listening. This was a confusing response to hear from him… and so he explained: “You see Sir, when a customer complains here I don’t really listen to the story closely until their anger flashes. I don’t listen to the details from the customer to know what went wrong, I watch for what they blow up about. And, you never got angry so I don’t see where the problem is.” I explained that I practiced Buddhism and through practice realized this was not a situation that required anger, but it did require communication between he and I, as well as training within the restaurant. The manager’s face relaxed then broke into a smile, and then he burst into laughter; he looked relieved. This was a big “ah ha” moment for he and I both. This happened very early on during my journey into practice, and it showed me how much anger we have in our society and the difference that can be made by walking through this world with better habits.

– Chris Peters