Sunday, April 26, 2009

viva la raza

i got just about the best compliment ever today. maybe not ever, but it certainly was meaningful to me.
the other server working with me told one of the hispanic women who works in the kitchen that we needed rolls up front. the hispanic woman is someone i have a ton of respect for not only for her general pleasant disposition(i have never heard a cross word come from her mouth much less a complaint prior to this conversation in the 2 years i have worked with her.) but also her amazing work ethic(she has never missed a single day of work regardless of her health, works insanely hard doing anything and everything asked of her and often not asked. when she is not busy, but sees others are she jumps in to help learning how to roll silverware on the fly for instance.). the other server telling her to bring us rolls is lazy and rude. to begin with, it is the servers job to bring forward bread to warmers as needed not the kitchen staff. and, we really were far from busy. i think at most we may have had 2 tables each, but i doubt we even had that. in the time it took her to tell the kitchen worker, the server could have easily done it herself. plus, i am big on asking people to help you when you need it not telling other people what to do. in my world, please will get you far. telling me what to do is likely to get my dander up to say the least.
well, the kitchen worker brought the rolls forward, but surprisingly turned to the other server and in her broken english said "you lazy, not like rebecca. she no lazy." (my hispanic coworkers are my only coworkers who call me rebecca not becca.) i honestly think i blushed. coming from one of the hardest working coworkers at my job, that was one heck of a compliment.
and at the same time, it made me feel guilty. you see many of my hispanic coworkers do much more than their fair share of their work. most not all, come in every day without fail, smile and work hard without stopping the whole time they are there. they make a lot of employees look subpar when compared to their effort. they often do the work that none of the rest of us want to do and usually with a smile and rarely rewards like employee of the month.
i have read most of anthony bourdain's writing including some of his fiction. and, i can say i have seen most of his shows such as a cook's tour and no reservations. one thing that i can say is an underlying thread in his work is mad respect for the hispanic workers in restaurants who are the backbone of the restaurant industry in the united states. customers may not see them, but they toil tirelessly to ensure that restaurants keep going. i stole my title from anthony bourdain's use of the phrase viva la raza. in fact, it is a title to a chapter in one of his books. please don't ask me to recall which one after such a long day(i worked a double.) literally, it means long live the race specifically mexican. however, he uses it generally as a cry of thanks to those unsung kitchen heroes. and, i concur.
Post a Comment