Patty LaRoche: Overlooking a Wrong

Being wronged is never easy, no matter how menial the offense, because the chance to demonstrate our faith is always on the line. “I’m right, and you’re not” lurks like a caged animal desperate to escape. Because of my trust in Google Maps, I was in that cage last week.

Dave and I chose a four-star, Chinese restaurant—obviously so-ranked by starving reviewers– that, although eight miles out of the way, promised a grand buffet worth the drive. Clue one this wasn’t a popular restaurant was the lone car in the parking lot which, as it turned out, belonged to the hwc (hostess/waitress/cook). Multi-tasking at its finest. The menu wasn’t extensive—there was no buffet—but it had several chicken dishes, so I asked which ones had white meat. Simple question.

In her thick, Chinese accent, our hwc mentioned three, with General Tso being one. To avoid any language barrier, I spoke slowly. “General-Tso-is-white-meat?” She assured me it was. “Not-pressed- chicken-but- real-white-meat?” Yes, it was. Dave gave me his look which let me know I’d gone too far. In his opinion, we should not be fussy in a restaurant. Even if he asks for a hamburger well done and it arrives mooing and swatting flies, he won’t complain. If I, on the other hand, ask to speak to the management, he skedaddles for the bathroom.

While our entrees were being prepared, our hwc refilled three times the three sips we had drunk from our water glasses, brought Dave chopsticks and repeatedly asked if we would recommend the hot and sour soup to our friends. She was desperate and I felt sorry for her. I said I would.

But I won’t.

When our food arrived, Dave’s shrimp fried rice looked scrumptious. My “chicken” was a crusty shell encasing a pea-size portion of dark meat. DARK—white’s opposite. I munched on the two broccoli pieces and the rice, and because we were the only customers and our hwc was trying so hard, I opted to say nothing. I know. Shock! Shock! “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” I’m sure I heard angels applauding. Or perhaps it was Dave.

No, it had to be angels.

When our check was presented and my chicken leftovers removed from the table, I was flabbergasted by what came next from our hwc: “Why you order General Tso since you say you like white meat? Next time you come, you need order white meat.” Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

While I decided if what my heart was meditating on should stay there or be uncaged, Dave hastily pulled out his wallet, paid the bill and reminded me that we were in a hurry. (We weren’t.) I knew I had a choice. I could be honest and help this poor lady not make the same mistake in the future with someone less loving, or I could make Dave happy and remain silent. I opted to please my husband. After all, it was a long ride home. Too, when it came down to it, it could have been worse.

At least my chicken wasn’t mooing and swatting flies.

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