The smile

Here it is. My first step into adulthood… The first job.

A standard,waitressing job at our favourite Chinese take-away.

There are a couple of frightful experiences that stick with you for life. The first day in a completely new enviroment, filled with rules and unbreakable traditions, will be one of those frightful  (and funny) experiences:

Of course I forgot to put in prawn crackers for a “over £15 order” and the sauce for the duck or skewers. Sure my hands trembled so much the first time I made a transaction that I could barely hold the machine. Of course I forgot to give the poor man his card back.

I evidently didn’t know that prawns in black bean sauce are served on a sizzling hot plate because I nonchalantly put half my finger on that plate when picking it up from the kitchen. Oh, you know when the waiter or waitress unfolds our napkin and puts it elegantly on your lap? I pulled the wrong part of the “flower” napkin. Yes, it did fall on the floor. Yes, it happened in front of the customers. And my boss. Yes, my face was redder than my finger. I didn’t get fired. Not even when I freaked out because the phone was ringing that I forgot to breathe and let it ring and ring and ring until it shut up. Only for it to ring again.

“I like you. You smile a lot.” my boss tells me matter of factly. 

“Well, there’s not much else I can do”

“That means you have mastered the secret of this trade: always smile, even when you make mistakes. If you smile the customer will forgive you.”

At least I know why no customer got angry at me: I made all those mistakes (and many more) with my most angelic smile on.





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