Cochon was the 3rd restaurant I called. We were embarked on an apparently hopeless task: getting a table for 4 in New Orleans on a Friday night in April. We were aiming for 7 pm (I know how crazy that sounds…it was already 6:30 pm) and no one had anything before 9 pm.

At Cochon it was the same story:

“Can you take a party of 4 anytime around 7?”

“I can take you after 9 pm, nothing before.”

“Oh,” I sighed.

“You could take your chances, I suppose. We have tables outside and there might be something in the bar, but no guarantees.”

“Maybe we’ll try that. What’s your name?”

“Why do you want my name? Do you think you’re going to get me in trouble? I’m the assistant manager…no one gets me in trouble!”

“I never say anything bad about the people who feed me.”

(pause)

“Honey, you come right over and I’ll take care of you…we’ll get you a table somehow!”

Good as her word, Audrey had let the hostess, Elaine, know we were coming and a table was waiting right in the middle of the dining room.

I always assume that underneath the role there’s a person. If you can get through to the person, you will often find a solution that works for both of you. Sometimes it takes a little humor (“I never p.o. my food server”) and sometimes it’s merely genuine solicitude for someone who’s been on his feet too long. Either way, we’re both better off if we refuse to let our roles define us or others.

Your always-nice-to-the-waitress friend,

Doug

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