Monday, June 11, 2012

First Impressions

First impressions can be very deceiving.  My husband I were having dinner at this newly opened little bistro when an older couple sat down at the table next to us. The boys were playing their video games as they never eat out due to their food allergies.  After the couple finished their meal, the woman commented on what beautiful sons we had and they didn’t ‘know’ boys, they only had daughters and granddaughters, four daughters to be exact and even a few great-granddaughers.

In conversation we learned the gentleman was 84 years old and he and his wife had been married for 62 years.  They had just returned to upstate NY after spending the winter in Florida.  He has an office in Florida and in NY.  He works everyday and had spent 6 hours in his garden before going out to dinner on the evening we met.

They led an accomplished life.  His company completed many major corporate construction jobs and he is also an options trader.   His wife was a founder of a charitable organization for disabled children.  He was an avid baseball fan and told David and David, Jr. about the baseball players he had met and the autographs he had accumulated over the years.  His wife remarked that we had a nice family and David, Jr. had beautiful eyes.  She was grateful that she and her husband were blessed with their family and good health.  They still play tennis everyday!

They got up to leave and I noticed them hobbling off.  Nice, sweet people, but the tennis thing didn’t really hold up.  They both had a little trouble walking and the only tennis I could see them playing was table tennis.  I chuckled to myself.

Jim, the bistro owner/waiter presented our check and David commented to him that these were the kind of people that he would want to frequent his establishment.  They said they eat out 4 or 5 times a week.  The owner laughed.  “But you don’ t know the back story,” he said.  And he then proceeded to tell us how that sweet, lovely, elderly couple has managed to get thrown out of nearly all the restaurants around the area.

Are you serious? 

He was laughing as he told us they were fine at first.  They come in and have dinner, but they drink too much and then yell and swear at the servers.  The food is too cold, the food is too hot.  The food is taking too long.  The food arrived too soon.  They don’t like the table.  They don’t like the waitress.  

But they go to the restaurant up the street which is obscenely expensive once a week.  “Oh no,” he said.  “They were thrown out of there last week!”  He said as soon as they walked in he knew who they were and said to the chef, “It’s our turn”. 

We were incredulous.  They seemed so sweet.  They were very wealthy.  They had it all, a successful marriage, family, homes, businesses, charities.  Yet, apparently, they were not the sweet little old couple we thought them to be.  It was hard for us to imagine these two getting drunk and swearing at people in the restaurant to the point that they would be asked to leave and never come back! 

While sometimes first impressions can be correct, you can learn more about a person by the way they treat a waiter or waitress.

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