Rich Man Humiliates Poor Family in an Expensive Restaurant, and Waitress Teaches Him a Lesson – Story of the Day
A wealthy executive objects to the presence of a family of modest means in a luxury gourmet restaurant but ends up learning a valuable lesson.
Jordan Scott had a standing reservation at New York's most exclusive restaurant, Le Dauphin. He had dinner there at least twice a week, and he loved the atmosphere of exclusivity as much as he loved the delicious food.
It was special to him, walking into the hushed restaurant with only the discreet sounds of silver and crystal, and the soft murmurs of conversation from the genteel diners. It was heaven, and he loved it.
One evening, Jordan was happily perusing the menu when his ideal was shattered. Loud voices intruded, coarse voices, children's voices! He saw Ivonne, his favorite waitress, escorting a family to a nearby table.
A family! Jordan rarely saw families at Le Dauphin. And such a family! Jordan could see that Le Dauphin wasn't their usual hang out. The parents were in their thirties and dressed in their modest best, the two children were in their early teens.
Ivonne started explaining the menu and the chef's specials when the mother interrupted, "I'm sorry, that all sounds so expensive! Is there something simpler and more affordable on the menu?"
"I want a hamburger!" the boy cried, and Jordan winced. A hamburger at Le Dauphin? One of only five New York restaurants with five Michelin stars? It was inconceivable.
Jordan intervened. "I say!" he said, "If you want cheap and shoddy, there's a grill across the street that's just your style!"
"Excuse me?" asked the father blushing. "Are you talking to us?"
Money doesn't give you the right to demean people.
"Yes," said Jordan arrogantly. "If you can neither afford nor appreciate the type of food Le Dauphin serves, you need to go."
"We have every right to be here!" cried the mother.
"Right? Money buys rights," Jordan sneered, "and you don't look as if you can afford breadsticks at a truck stop."
"Look," said the father, obviously making an effort to be calm, "all we want is to have our dinner quietly. It's a special occasion, a celebration..."
"Hurrah!" cried Jordan mockingly. "Go celebrate somewhere else. Can't you see you don't belong here?"
The mother placed a hand on the father's arm. "Look, Jack, let's just go..."
The father, Jack, glared at Jordan. "No, Sally! You've always dreamed of having dinner here, and it's your birthday. We saved up for this and we're not leaving."
Jordan laughed. "Oh my! You had to SAVE for this like it was a vacation? That's so...pitiful!"
Jack stood up. "You're right, Sally, we'd better go before I do something rash."
It was then that Ivonne intervened. She placed a gentle hand on Jack's shoulder. "Please, sir, sit down. I'll take care of this." Ivonne walked over to Jordan's table. "Mr. Scott," she said calmly, "I have to ask you to leave."
"Leave? Me? You stupid girl. Have you forgotten how much money I spend at this restaurant? How much I leave you in tips?" Jordan gasped.
"No, sir, I haven't, but that doesn't give you the right to insult other guests," Ivonne said quietly.
"Call the manager," Jordan demanded, and so Ivonne did. The tall elegant gentleman listened calmly to Jordan's vicious diatribe about low-class patrons spoiling the ambiance, and Ivonne's demand that he leave and nodded.
"Oh dear," he said. "Yes, I see that you really are upset, Mr. Scott..."
Jordan cast Ivonne a triumphant look. "I want this woman fired!" he cried.
The manager continued "...and I must ask you to leave, and return when you are in a calmer mood."
"WHAT?" screamed Jordan. "You're throwing me out? I'll destroy your restaurant's reputation! I have power, influence, money..."
"Mr. Scott," the manager said calmly, "If you don't leave now I will call the police and have you removed. On second thought, you are barred from Le Dauphin for life."
Sputtering and gasping, Jordan left the restaurant. The manager came to the family's table and introduced himself. "I hear, Madam," he said to Sally, "that dinner at Le Dauphin is one of your dreams, and that it is your birthday?"
"Yes," said Sally blushing. "I saw this restaurant in a movie, and I always wanted to be here..." she gestured at the elegant decor, "This is a dream come true."
"In honor of your birthday, Le Dauphin would like to offer you and your family dinner on the house." He winked at the boy. "And I think I can talk the chef into making us an extra special burger and fries!"
As they walked away from the family's table, Ivonne said to the manager: "I'm sorry sir, I lost us a valuable patron and one who is going to make trouble for us."
"No, Ivonne," the manager said, "You did the right thing. Mr. Scott is an unpleasant entitled man, and no amount of money gives him the right to humiliate and demean the people around him.
"Above all, we are here to serve people, to give them a happy experience, a memory of a perfect meal -- and that is what that family came here for. As for us? We are about more than making money -- we are human and humane."
The family had the loveliest meal ever, and the chef even managed to come up with a lovely birthday cake for Sally complete with candles. It was magical, the way it's supposed to be.
What can we learn from this story?
- Money doesn't give you the right to demean people. Jordan thought himself above the family because he was wealthy, but he learned a sharp lesson in good manners.
- Standing up for people's right to be treated with dignity is more important than making money. The manager rightfully chose to place the family's rights above profit when Jordan insulted them.
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