A Review of Service

Summer, the perfect opportunity for day trips, friendships and adventure. Recently, on a day trip to a North Carolina island only about an hour and half from where I live, we ventured off for a day away with close friends to a place we have been before and have many fond memories and stories to tell about our previous trips. We love this place and always begin making plans for our next trip back while we are there.

However, something was different this trip. Our group of 8 adults, 7 children and one precious dog,  created a different dynamic for this particular trip. After a fun, relaxing morning in the sun, everyone was in need of lunch. We decided to frequent our favorite little restaurant on the island that many of our stories and memories come from! We loaded up our 3 golf carts, Calmpett style, and head for lunch. When we arrived at one of the few dining options on the island, we were greeted by a very unfriendly face, who seemed so perturbed that we had chosen this dining establishment to have lunch.  Ok, so, I've been a waitress and I can understand that this size party that is almost one to one coverage in the kids:adult ratio can be overwhelming but when you are on a small family friendly island with few dining options it is to be expected. And, thankfully it was already 2:00 pm well past the lunch hour rush with many empty tables.

To spare you all the details, I will make a long story short, the hostess, who seemed to dislike us from the moment we arrived, continued to have interactions with us that spoiled our experience to the point of us finally leaving the restaurant. Our children were well behaved. All of them. All 7. They received their food first and finished it long before it appeared we were going to receive ours. The teacher/mother in  me immediately thought: DANGER...DANGER!! The kids behavior is going to quickly change  once they are fed and bored. The restaurant had an outdoor patio which was completely empty and I saw opportunity for them! We gave the children our iPhones, like all good parents do, and promptly showed them to their new outdoor arrangements where they could be free to be kids because they had been sitting at the table polity for a long time. And, as you know how children are with an i-device...they all were mesmerized by their screens and sat contently while being brain washed by all forms of digital stimulation. Judge not. We needed some adult conversation and quiet time for a long morning in the harsh sun. 

Moments later, my oldest came in and said that he had been told they could not sit there.  I thought he must be mistaken so, I went out and kindly asked a server if they could. She was polite and kind. With a smile on her face she said, "Of course they can!".  Perplexed, I went back to Noah and asked him who had told him he could not sit there? He pointed to the hostess. The one who had been so fond of our group since our arrival. While steam must have been pouring out of my ears, I composed myself, walked over to her stand and kindly asked, "Ma'am, is it true that you  told our children that they could not sit at one of the 15 empty tables on the deck?"  Hoping that I had been mistaken, I quickly realized I had not. The way in which she looked at me and spoke immediately told me where I stood with her. It was one of the few times in my life that I felt unfairly judged and sized up by the matter of her opinion on who she thought I was. I won't share how she made me feel because let's just say it isn't uplifting. I didn't know what to say or do next. 

I felt so unfairly judged by this women. To say I was angry falls short. I am a very amicable person. I've been told I'm an emoter. I feel. I love people.  The mama bear in me was coming out because she messed with my children and their friends. But, also because, I was angry that she so unfairly judged our group from the moment we arrived.

I tried first to deal with the source of the problem. After not feeling heard by the hostess, I felt I had no other option than to go and find the manager and explain to him what was taking place on his watch (as our family is small business owners ourselves ...I thought he desired to know how one of his staff is so poorly reflecting the overall establishment.) While he listened and seemed to care, he did not react. At this point, the adults had still not received our meals well after an hour of being there. We paid our tab for the kids meals and our beverages and decided to leave. 

It was really upsetting to the entire group as this was the establishment that so many of our fond memories began with and our stories started with ..."This one time, at ..". For a few moments, it gave me a stale taste for the entire island. 

On the golf cart ride back to the beach I reflected on if I handled the hostess appropriately and how Christ would respond to her. Though I wasn't harsh with my words, I was angry. I was concerned that I wasn't being heard and that I was being unfairly judged. I started thinking how I would show them with a honest, harsh, Trip Advisor Review. 

Then, it hit me. The Holy Spirit clearly revealed me to how there have been times in my life where I have been a poor reflection of Christ's establishment, of who He is, and my behavior can either draw people closer to him or turn them away completely.  What if my behavior had the ability to be constantly reviewed by others. What if my days were rated online and gave other people the opportunity to decide if they wanted to interact with me? What if others could review my service to them on a daily basis?

So, today, after reading many reviews that stated similar experiences at this dining spot I struggled with stating my case of how poorly we were treated versus extending the grace I have been given over an over again. Instead of writing a Poor Trip Advisor Review on what used to be my favorite restaurant on the island, I am choosing grace. The same grace that I pray is given to me on my bad days. The same grace that Christ extends to me when I've turned people away from him by my behavior and my attitude towards Him.  The same grace we need to extend to each other in a time when people are dying by the hands of peers with such disregard for human life.

Christ used this moment in time to speak to me. To show me how it feels to be unfairly judged and treated by someone who has no idea of my character  but choses to base her treatment towards me on who she perceives I am , true or not. I am not entitled. My children and my friends' children, whom I love dearly, are good children. They /We are not perfect, but they are good and kind and were well behaved at this particular establishment. Just like all the people who are mourning the loss of their loved ones, black, white, uniformed, un-uniformed or purple. It is dangerous to assign a story about who someone is without truly knowing the content of their character. Moreover, it is equally dangerous to respond to the unfair treatment in anger and hate. Christ hung unfairly and falsely accused on a cross for my sin. Who am I to feel the need to be heard? 

The hostess who was so unkind, whether she knows it or not, she is a child of God and so am I. So I forgive. Forgiveness is not a feeling. I don't feel warm and fuzzy towards her but I do forgive her. And, I move forward with the lesson that God is graceful in His love towards me and therefore calls me to be graceful in love towards others no matter how I am treated. If Christ were to write a review of my service on Earth and the love I shared with others, I wonder how many stars he would give to me?