As a species, we are all very judgmental and anyone who says they are not are just lying to you and themselves. In reality, when you think about it, being judgemental is what keeps us alive.
When I meet someone for the first time, I get an instant impression of their personality, and I base that on intuition, but still, it could be looked at as being judgmental. Almost always, my assessment of the person in that instant is usually correct.
What about actions though? It is very easy to judge someone based on their actions without ever looking beyond what they are doing to discern why they do it.
I order take out from a restaurant that is 20 mins from my home and admittedly, my home confuses people. It is easy to get lost. There are three different driveways on the property and the first one you meet, which all navigation systems take you to for my address, takes you to a barn, not the house. I have to tell any deliveries that not to go to the first driveway, but continue down the street blah blah blah.
Anyway, we have the instructions at the take out and sometimes they send someone that finds the house without a problem, but then you get those that get confused and call and I walk them through how to get to our house.
There was this one delivery person who went to the barn, called me and said they were “here”. I figured they were at the barn so I gave them directions, fonly for them to repeat “here”. I realized their English was limited or non existent so I told them to wait, got in my car, and drove down and got the food. I tried to explain that this wasn’t the house but they just kept nodding and saying “yes”.
The next time ordered it was the same person again and the same thing, so I got to the barn, confirmed they did not speak English, confirmed their language, spoke my directions and message into iTranslate in my iPhone, played it back for them and they read what I wrote and nodded and said “ok, sorry.” I signed the receipt and we parted.
Third time. Same thing again. Now I was pissed and told them that was not the house in her language, they said “ok” and I watched on the security camera as they just sttod there with the food waiting for me to drive down and pick it up. Now I was really, really pissed. I didn’t say anything to them but when I signed the receipt I contemplated not giving them a tip. The pen hovered over the tip line and I hesitated.
I always give delivery people the same as I tip waiters – 20% – 25% depending on the service. I almost drew a line through the tip section but I looked up at this person and I realized that I didn’t know their story and who was I to penalize them because they were not bringing my food to my front door. As far as they was concerned, this was the correct address. Why should I penalize them because the powers that be marked the first driveway as the street address and so every navigation system now recognizes that the barn is the correct place.
I entered the tip, and annoyed I went home, called the restaurant and told them to please never send that person again because does not understand where the delivery goes. They agreed and we ordered multiple times after that and they never came back.
This week, we placed an order and without any calls or confusion, the delivery car pulled into our driveway, the correct one. I went out to get the order and to my surprise, it was my non comprehending person.
In an instant, when I saw them, I instantly reverted to memories of past performance and got pissed and pondered tipping them this time. In the nex instant I could not believe that I, a person that prides myself in fairness, judged them for their past performances and wanted to penalize them now. This despite the fact that for the first time they found the house without a problem and it was one of the fastest times we got our order from the restaurant.
They stepped out of the car beaming with pride and said “no get wrong this time”. I felt so ashamed of myself that I, even for the briefest of instants, reverted to my judgement of them from before rather than being happy that they were correct this time.
I told them that I was happy they found it easily and that this was the fastest we ever got our order. They was beaming with such pride over what seemed to me to be such a simple thing, but I often forget that what seems so simple to me, isn’t so simple for others.
They then pointed at themself and said “learning English- Thanks you”. I didn’t know if that meant that I was the catalyst for their learning English or if they were just letting me know. I just said “Good for you. Keep it up”. They smiled, I signed the slip, gave them a 25% tip, handed it back to them and we both said goodnight.
As I turned to go back into the house and they into their car, I turned back and asked them in their language what was their name. They stopped and smiled, and told me their name. I said “nice to meet you, my name is Basil” and shook their hand. They smiled, a different smile that said Thank you for recognizing me as a person.
I have a special appreciation for people that work in the service industry and I see all too often that people that work in service from housekeepers to waiters to drivers are not appreciated and even belittled and treated as stupid because they are doing “lowly” work or because they speak a second language.
Where would we be if people didn’t do these jobs? Garbage piling up on the street, filthy hotel rooms, badly cooked meals. There is no shame in working these jobs, and we should never make anyone feel ashamed for doing those jobs. People should all be treated equally and with respect at all times. So they next time you eat out somewhere, don’t be like many people I see in the restaurant that barely even looks at the person that is bringing them their dinner.