We arrived at the restaurant with the best of hopes. The end to a lovely weekend getaway. A good lunch before having to return to our regular lives. We had just heard good things about the place, and the menu options looked promising.
It was a chilly and cloudy day. Though they had a nice patio we’d decided on the ride there to eat inside, due to the weather. it’d be only the second time we’ve eaten inside a restaurant since being fully vaccinated. The previous time being the night before.
When we got there and checked in with the hostess, we were told they were only seating outside. We decided we’d live with it. We were hungry. Looking forward to a good meal. A singer-guitarist was setting up for some live music. We rolled with it.
We sat down, waters were delivered. The server came over and took our order in good time. Then we waited. And waited….
Wow, it’s been a while, we thought. Almost an hour, we figured out. Other patrons were waiting too, we noticed. The mood was… low. Even the musician was playing sad songs.
I’d overheard the hostess mention to others checking in that the kitchen was backed up and there’d be a long wait for food. Why hadn’t we been told? No matter now. What more can we do but wait?
Our server checked in on us. Apologized for the delay. I asked about it. She explained that they are short handed in the kitchen. Having a hard time finding cooks these days considering the circumstances. Hey, I get it. Just wish we’d been told. It’s OK. My wife and daughter went to walk around. I’ll text them when the food arrives.
About ten minutes later, our food came out. About the same time as the hostess was seating a party of eight. Food was OK, not great. My wife’s was warm, not hot. My veggie burger passable. Beatrix’s was fine.
As we sat there eating, our server was bringing out water to the party of eight. A tray full of full glasses. As she rested it on the corner of their table to serve them, the glasses all tumbled off.Soaking a few of the people in the party and splashing a few more. The whole restaurant was turning and looking. They server was clearly embarrassed and apologetic. The people in the party were gracious and understanding. Clearly in a better mood than the rest of us.
Then as things were being picked up and the musician had finished his song, one of the people in the party yelled, “Hey, play something happy!”
The musician, barely being listened to before and sensing the unique opportunity before him, launched into a raucous rendition of Bamboleo. Soon the crowd was smiling, laughing, clapping, dancing in their seats. Many of us who knew the song sang along. The whole mood of the restaurant changed. Suddenly, the wait didn’t matter. We had music and community and fun. The musician even invited one of the people in the party of eight up to sing the next song. It was amazing.
How do you take a bad situation and make it better? How do you turn a restaurant full of hangry and wet customers into a party? Art. Art always does its job.