“Dude! You have anger issues!” It was Ally desperately attempting to de-escalate the situation. Nathan and the manager were now face to face in a silent stare off. Nathan had just been told, “Sir you either calm down or you will have to leave!”
Nathan decided to do the unexpected thing and sit back down in his chair, while saying to the manager, “Why don’t you sit down for a minute and let me tell you our story of coming in here today….” When the manager did pull up a chair, the entire restaurant breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God!” someone said.
Ally visibly shifted to relax mode. Other customers were busy sending texts and emails to the restaurant website about the “unhealthy” and often “hostile” environment. One email said, “It was a horrible experience!” The owner of the restaurant, a Mrs. Matthews, began reading these messages at the conference she was attending in Chicago.
It didn’t take long for Rick the manager to understand once Nathan started explaining. Rick started looking down at the table embarrassed, and then turned his head to the side, as if he had expected this to happen.
Abruptly Rick got up and said “I’ll take care of it. I’ll get you another waitress and the food…. is on the house today. Please enjoy your stay….” And just like that he walked away. It wasn’t very genuine, but it was sort of what Nathan and Ally wanted to hear.
“I’m sorry I ruined everything”, Nathan finally said. He didn’t wait for Ally to answer, “I’m so sick and tired of people being mistreated…..I know what it’s like in a way……I was bullied for years. My pain…. was forged into a weapon and used against me. Ridicule was their favorite tactic.”
“Oh, that’s deep honey. I’m so sorry!” Ally covered his hand with hers. She looked him straight in the eyes and said, “I get it now…..I do. And I realize I can trust you. It was a wild ride, but you didn’t ruin it.” They both chuckled. It was the first time he had ever told someone, and Ally could sense that.
A new waitress came out with the food, all smiles and was so happy to meet the two of them. “I’m Felicia! And I’m so glad you complained about that nitwit you had the first time….”
Overall, it was a very good lunch, but was it a date?
The next installment tomorrow.
Writing and Image Copyright © 2021 rivers renewed