Monday, June 30, 2008

PROFILING


A funny thing happened on the way to Napa.
After we left Half Moon Bay
We drove into San Francisco to get to the Golden Gate and on to Napa. Melissa however was hungry for breakfast. Rather than eat at the hotel, we opted for something quick like IHOP or something similar. Once we got on the freeway (101 North) it was difficult to see any signs of Denny's or IHOP, so slowly and through traffic, we entered into San Francisco. We slowly made our way towards the Gold Gate and eventually we pulled over in an area where there were plenty of restaurants. Melissa went into the restaurant while I placed some quarters in the meter. I went inside the restaurant while Melissa went to wash her hands.
This is when it got interesting.
As I'm walking to the table assigned to us, an older lady turns around and says:

"Excuse me, can I please have an extra napkin?"
I turned around to see who she was talking to but there was no one around. As I turned back around, I see that she was still glancing at me as if waiting for me to meet her request.
I just grabbed a napkin from another table, just placing the silverware aside and handed it to her.
At least she said thank you and proceeded with her conversation with her family.
I just kind of giggled and sat down. I looked at the staff in the restaurant who were wearing a Hawaiian kind of shirt and jeans. Me, I was wearing a pair of beige shorts and a baby blue polo shirt. Hardly the kind of "uniform" you would find in cold San Francisco, more like something you would find in Palm Springs or Florida.
If you know me, you will clearly know that I am Latino or Mexican or someone from a Latin American country, I have even been asked if I am Filipino.
Maybe this lady didn't care about that. All she saw was a brown skinned man in a restaurant where most staff were of the same color.
Are you one of those people? I hope not.
It is not the first time that this happens to me. it happened recently about a month ago when a manager where I work asked me if I could "send someone to mop the floor on station 8". Her assumption was because I was brown skinned even though I was wearing a shirt and tie and there was another manager, who happens to be white, also wearing the same outfit, that I was somehow in charge of the dishwashers, who happen to be mostly brown skinned. I kind of looked perplexed because I was not clear as to what she was asking of me. The other manager saw this and explained to the one making the request that I was just there to help briefly and that I would not know where station 8 was.
At this, the requesting manager apologized and turned beet red. Again I just giggled and brushed it off.
It also reminded me of a time years ago when I was coming out of a restaurant with a group of friends in L.A. As we were waiting for our car, a guy pulls up and hands me his keys and I instinctively just took them.
I just tossed them back to him and said. "I don't work here". All he said was, "sorry" and waited for the valet guy.
I cannot get mad at people's ignorance and prejudices. It isn't me. I am sure if it happened to someone else, they might not react as I do.

After I told Melissa what had happened, she said she wished she had been there 'cause she would have given them not just a napkin but a piece of her mind. Those people were completely oblivious to the situation. They all just went back to eating and talking.
At least it gave us a good story to chuckle at while we continued on our way to Napa and Sonoma. We forgot all about over 2 days of wine tasting and being buzzed.

Till next time.

3 comments:

Gnightgirl said...

The woman never noticed that you were a customer there?

I've found myself wandering around a store looking for assistance, and approaching people that look like they might be in a position of authority to help me, before....but I'm pretty careful about asking unless I'm sure. I almost talked to a guy that was wearing a lanyard around his neck, recently...but realized just in the nick of time that he was not affiliated with whichever store I was in.

Maybe you just look like you know what you're doing, everywhere you go! ;-)

Summer Ryan Doyle said...

I'm glad you could laugh these things off. I would be like Melissa and be pretty pissed about the whole thing.

Although it does remind me of when I was at Ikea this week and a woman asked two guys in Best Buy uniforms (blue shirts and khakis) where the bookshelves were. They're like, "We have no idea; we were just looking for bathroom stuff." I don't know if that lady ever figured out they didn't work there.

Coco said...

yikes!!
when i need help at a store/restaurant (etc) i always look for their name tag/badge...and if it's accessible- i ask if they work there.

yes, i too, get confused...but with middle easterns, and meditterraneans!

un fuerte y caluroso abrazo...
y bendiciones.

ps
pasarón casi frente de mí casa!!
me gustaría ver mas fotos, plis! ; )