|Seat for one|
On our way back from Miami, we decided to pop into Boynton Beach and visit some friends we don’t get to see very often. It wasn’t going to be a long visit as we were on a time schedule in order to get back for the 9 year-old, but we figured lunch would be a perfect time to get together. We don’t have a Sweet Tomatoes in our town and I enjoy eating there when we can so I picked the lunch spot. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Sweet Tomatoes, but it’s an all you can eat salad and soup restaurant. They have a few other things, such as baked potatoes and breads of all kinds and even an ice cream machine. I don’t know if the fact that you’re eating salad cancels the weight gain of the ice cream or not, but I see it as a just reward for eating a healthy meal.
Now, I know you’re probably thinking you’ve seen pictures of me and I do not look like a salad and soup kind of person. For the most part you’d be right, but once every few years it isn’t a bad change of pace and makes me look good when I recommend it. I need all of the help in that category I can get.
There were six plus a baby in our group and the hostess went about finding a place for us to sit and enjoy the healthy food. We went about getting said food. Once our plates were piled high with healthy lettuce and tomatoes and black olives and….well, let’s just say my plate was heavier than the rest of them; our hostess led us over to our table. Sitting to one side of us was a single lady enjoying her meal. I smiled to be polite, but didn’t really pay attention. I was, after all, there to visit with friends.
After a few minutes of conversation and stuffing my face, I noticed some motion to my side. The hostess was saying something to the lady beside us. After a few comments, they took the table that was butted up against hers and two of the four chairs. I could tell the lady, Dorothy I was soon to discover was her name, was beginning to feel a little put out.
A couple of minutes later, the same hostess came over and asked to take the third chair. To her the lady wasn’t using it and she needed it for another customer.
“They’re going to take your table away as well if you aren’t careful,” Teri said to her, trying to make light of the situation.
“I know. It’s ridiculous. They’ve already moved me from where I was sitting and now are taking my furniture, as well,” Dorothy said.
“Where were you sitting?”
“Where you are now.”
Teri and I looked at each other and suddenly felt guilty for something we didn’t even know we had caused. Dorothy told the hostess not to take the third chair and we told the hostess that what they were doing to the poor lady was pretty insensitive. The hostess wasn’t sure what to do at that point and suddenly felt guilty herself. She apologized and even brought the lady a coupon over for a free meal.
Of course, now we had a conversation going with Dorothy, who really was a sweet lady. Apparently, they did it to her the last time she had sat down to eat in their establishment. Not a good way to treat your customers and expect return business.
Dorothy, after she had seen she had those who sympathized with her, became gracious about the whole fiasco. “I understand it’s a family place and I’m just a single lady, but it does hurt sometimes.”
Our world is geared for the family, it seems. Businesses have a hard time making room for the single patron who is just as vital to their pocket book as the family of four plus. I looked around Sweet tomatoes and noticed a lack of tables set up for couples or single people. Usually some establishments will have a table for two scattered throughout their place. This one didn’t. Perhaps they thought it a waste of space or that single people didn’t care to eat healthy, but they came close to losing a faithful customer by their actions. There is room for everyone in this world and we need to make sure we make it.
Dorothy left feeling a little better about her time there because we shared some of our time with her. Businesses would be better served if they made room for everyone’s dignity within their walls. So would we. That’s one of the things I enjoy about our home and our family. There is a place for everyone without judgment; there is never a shortage of space or love. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all could do the same thing?
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