Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Time I Accosted The Guy In Pizza Hut

Earlier today I was savoring the sweet flavors of Amulek's words in The Book of Mormon. I just love Amulek (really, I do. It's almost a problem). And Alma. And Ammon. And... anyhow. I was pondering on the fact that somehow, this time through this amazing book, I've picked up on something in my most favorite section (Alma and Amulek and the Sons of Mosiah) that I've just never noticed so strongly before -- and that is their reach out to rescue. In so many instances, they responded to cries for help and comfort -- not just when convenient, but immediately. I'm so inspired by this. Perhaps because it is a quality, an action that I so desperately desire in my own heart. That whole "kneel down to pray, stand up to serve, reach out to rescue" thing that President Monson so embodies and inspires in others. I want so much to be always ready to reach out to rescue, to be an instrument in the hands of God like those ancient and incredible missionaries were. I felt peace in my heart and balm in my soul this morning as I read those words written for me and for you.

And then tonight I so clearly reminded myself that I'm sort of like -- way less then close in my journey to get there.
This is how it all came down:
Thursday nights are the nights I teach my classes. Since it's also Foster class time, the Double B was required there, and so that meant I needed to take my kids with me to teach. That's alright, they do pretty well and I enjoy sharing something I enjoy so much with them. But of course, it's almost eight o'clock at night and there is no dinner, so I usually stop and pick something up. Tonight it was Pizza Hut. All in the name of the stuffed crust. As we waited to place our order, I stood uncomfortably behind a young, handsome, good-smelling and goatee-d man as he demanded in a rather unfriendly tone a discount from the clerk for having to wait twenty minutes for his pizza. Now, the clerk was also a young man -- who looked so miserable, so harried, so harrassed, and so unsure about what to do about this more aggressive rooster. You could see the weight of the world on his shoulders as he had no choice but to take whatever the customer wanted to dish out to him. Finally his pizza was on the counter, so he demanded three cups of the extra 50 cent sauce, and then headed out the door. The young, flustered clerk asked "Do you want to pay for them, or...?" To which the accoster said very beligerently "No! I won't pay for them." And headed out the door. At which point, so disheartened that this whole thing was taking place, my mouth opened and out came the words "Well, that was rude!" The two young men stopped -- the one on his way out of the door. He turned to me, and I thought maybe I was going to get it. "Do you mean ME?" he asked. I stared at him in my best fifth grade 'you don't intimidate me' stare and said "Yes." He was shocked. "But I had to wait for twenty -- !!!" And I said "I know, but that doesn't mean you should treat him that way." And then the guy walked out the door. There was silence for a minute, and then I told the clerk how sorry I was that that had happened, that the mean goatee guy didn't need to act that way, and that it made me really sad. I tried to cheerfully place my order and after I paid, the rather awkward clerk said "Thank you for saying something for me. At first I was scared because I thought you were going to cuss me out, too, and I didn't know how to handle two people. But then I realized you were speaking for me. Thanks." And I again said I was sorry he had to deal with that, I know customer service can be really hard.

All the way home I was stuck thinking about the guy I called out. Did I really need to tell him he was rude like that? Did I really need to do it that way? Maybe I could have said "I wish we could speak more kindly to each other," given a gentle or Motherly reminder about civility, or maybe I could have waited until he left and tried to console and cheer up the clerk. But I told that perfect stranger just what I thought, no matter how it would have made him feel. I've always had this problem, literally since the first grade I have been aware of it. If I see someone being picked on by someone bigger or stronger then they are, I can't handle it. My mouth opens of it's own volition and suddenly I am the bigger, stronger one trying to make them see just how it feels.
When I was a kid, it didn't matter how the meanie bully felt, I was just relieved the weaker one was out of harms way. But as an adult, I guess I realize it's a lot more complicated then that.
Not that mean people should run rampant. But I know my own feelings when I told him he was rude. They wanted to be accompanied by a fist in his face.
And that's not right, either.
I know that the Savior wouldn't have handled that experience that way. And I guess I want to know what I could have done to handle it more like him, and then I want to do it.
I'm glad I know I don't have to be perfect now, or I'd be miserable. But I do know I should be getting better all the time. And sometimes it just doesn't feel like that's happening fast enough. I guess I'll just keep working towards that life-long mighty change of heart.

I guess as it's bedtime I'll allow Amulek to comfort me. He called the Savior "Mighty to Save." And as it so happens, that is my favorite -- very favorite -- description of Him. I know He is just that. I know He can tip the scales towards mercy in my behalf.

And maybe sometime soon I'll learn to leave the mean guys in Pizza Hut alone.


Elise said...

Blah blah blah...STUFFED CRUST...blah blah...

Just kidding.

I'm really proud to have you as a friend. Someone needs to defend these poor people who work customer service. From how you've retold the story, I can't see how you've done anything different than the savior might've done. You reminded the guy that he was being rude. Straightforward, honest. I like it. And you DIDN'T punch him. I say, well done. The world needs more Maries and fewer goatees. :)

Ducksoup said...

you are awesome. i loved this post - - it should be read on national television. katie couric needs to interview you. i need to learn to be like you - - i probably would have been so scared of the guy but you stood up for the other guy and didn't care. love you rie, you are my hero in life. keep up the good work. and i hope i'm not ever like that guy with the goatee...i can be pretty impatient myself. i'm going to remember your kindness for the rest of my life (i hope at least).

Kyle, Alicia, and Jaxson said...

Thank you so much for standing up for that poor pizza guy. It makes me beyond sad to see others being treated that way. You are so great, I wish if I were in a situation like that I would be able to stand up for someone. It's important to be kind and some people don't always understand that (like goatee man).

katie said...

Good for you! I don't think some people realize how they treat others!

Jen said...

This reminds me of that quote: "Some people just need a High Five. In the face."

Way to stand up for that guy. I'll take you in my corner any time.