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Feeding People with Special Dietary Needs and Challenging Personalities


patti
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10 hours ago, cdh said:

Hamburger steaks are news to me... Not a thing in the part of Pennsylvania I live in, nor were they a thing in NYC, nor were they a thing in Austin... I presume they're a patty of ground meat served with a steak-y sauce and no bun.  Or are they a pummeled-rather-than-ground meat thing that gets turned into a "Swiss Steak" round abouts where I live? 

 

edit to add: The not ground but pummeled meat around here is sold as "cube steak"... 

 

Hmmmm - I think they were called chopped steaks or chopped sirloin steaks (as opposed to hamburger steaks) and were on most every diner and coffee shop menu.  The ones run through a tenderizing machine were possibly called minute steaks.

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Hamburger steaks are what @patti showed.  And I'd like to place my order now.  I thought they were common in US cafes, diners, etc.  I know that I used to see them at all the little cafes I went to in NC with my granddaddy and every cafeteria I ever went to in VA.  Maybe they are particularly southern US?  Salisbury steaks have fillers - more like a slice of meatloaf as far as taste goes.  

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14 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

My youth had been scarred by Salisbury steak.  Never heard of it called hamburger steak.

 

 

I liked it - must have gravy, though! I saw my grandmother make it, once. (She "retired" early from cooking.)

 

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On 5/21/2021 at 11:56 AM, patti said:

Let me add that in fifteen years, that was the only time I blessed anyone’s heart (out loud and to their faces). And one of only maybe three times that I showed what might be considered a negative reaction.  It was my job to be gracious.

 

As others have said, you're a better woman than I am. Particularly in my advancing years, I do not suffer fools gladly. And the sound of my mother's voice admonishing me, "If you can't say something nice, just hush!" gets fainter and fainter.

 

On 5/21/2021 at 12:21 PM, Kim Shook said:

I'm thinking we need a super-sized "Pissed Off" emoji for this topic.  This is where you need someone with the power to say, "OUT!  Out, out, out!  Here's your refund and a ticket home.  OUT!!!".  Wow.

 

 

Yep. What Kim said. I can't wait to hear the story of the one you sent home.

 

20 hours ago, patti said:

Just a short, quick one, and not about a complainer. 
 

Hamburger steaks are common around here. I didn’t realize that the term might be regional until after I’d been asked a few times what they were. I was still caught by surprise during one lunch, when a woman pointed to our bus driver’s hamburger steak and asked, “How much of that is steak, and how much of that is hamburger?” 🤔😂

 

The bus driver and I just looked at each other, not sure if she was serious or not. I managed to respond with a straight face, but by the hardest.

 

ETA: Another surprise were the people who’d never heard of black-eyed peas.  I know that they’re popular in the south, but was surprised when people asked what they were, after seeing them on a menu.  And why are they called black-eyed peas.

 

Amazed at the people who don't know hamburger steak. It's my go-to when I'm hungry and don't know what I want. Onion and mushroom gravy, please.

 

Re: dietary restrictions. I often don't say anything about needing to be gluten-free, in part because I can eat "around" most wheat-containing items, and in part because my celiac disease is not severe enough but what I can tolerate the amount of wheat in, say, a lot of Chinese sauces, or used to bread something, or even the (very) occasional roll or bun.

 

Only place it's ever been a "nope, can't eat that" situation is at the "continental breakfast" at some hotels, particularly during Covid. The offerings have shrunk to packaged pastries and cereals, whole fruit, and maybe yogurt if you're lucky. I carry my protein shakes with me, usually.

 

These are great stories. 

 

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Maybe I need to change the title of the thread to, “Feeding People with Challenging Personalities,” because not all of the stories are about people with special dietary needs.

 

We were on a field trip to a folk life village. After a guided tour, the group had lunch at a small restaurant on-site. That day, the restaurant ran out of biscuits before my entire group was served. The last four or five people received some other bread item, but I don’t recall what it was.  

 

One lady in the group called me over and said she really wanted a biscuit. I told her the kitchen was out of biscuits. 

 

“I want my biscuit.”

 

Her friend nervously offered to share her biscuit.

 

“I want my own biscuit.”

 

The friend offered her the entire biscuit, insisting that she have it. Nope.

 

The server walked up and apologized. “Ma’am, I’m so sorry. We had an unexpected group who came in for lunch earlier, and we’re out of biscuits.”

 

“I. WANT. MY. BISCUIT!”

 

The worst part is, she was rewarded for her embarrassing behavior. A few minutes later, the server came back out and said if we could wait a little while, they’d just put a batch in the oven, and anyone who’d missed out on a biscuit could have one.

 

I hope she looks back on her childish behavior with utter shame.


But they did have damn good biscuits.

Edited by patti (log)
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On 5/20/2021 at 3:58 PM, patti said:

Ah.  Gluten-free.  To everyone who truly requires a gluten free diet, let me say that I would’ve been more than happy to accommodate your needs. But this story is about someone who just wanted attention. She’d made requirements clear beforehand, so I made sure the hotel prepared her meal.  
 

Dinner started with a salad, and she asked me to identify the ingredients in every dressing choice.  This was my first sign.  Any previous gluten-free people knew which dressing to order or request, depending on the severity of their issues. The kitchen manager helped her with this one, since I didn’t know the ingredients. Then came her main. “This is my meal? You couldn’t come up with anything more special than that?!” I was ready to point out her ingratitude, but again, someone from the kitchen who was nicer than I, offered an alternative.  
 

Thus began the week, where every meal, except breakfast, was a drama meant to call attention to her needs. I called ahead to a diner to ask about what was in some of the menu items, then relayed that info to her. Not good enough. Once we were there she wanted someone from the staff to come out and relay the same info I’d already told her, making her the center of attention. At some point, I stopped worrying or paying attention to it, until lunch on the last full day of the program.  She was seated several seats away from me when someone asked her what health issues caused her to go gluten-free. “Oh, none. I just thought I’d try it. This is only my second week and I feel better already!”

 

 

Thanks for the great stories!  I know we can all relate in some way.

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when a woman pointed to our bus driver’s hamburger steak and asked, “How much of that is steak, and how much of that is hamburger?” 🤔😂


Of those of you who aren’t familiar with hamburger steaks, do you see the humor in this question?

 

We’re all learning here! Y’all confirmed my thought that the dish, or at least the name, is regional. Speaking for myself, when I travel to other areas of the country, it’s not like I’m looking for hamburger steak on the menus, so I wouldn’t even notice that it’s not there.

 

On the topic of terminology: Around here, we have meatball stew and chicken stew, and neither of those dishes is like other stews that might have carrots and potatoes, or any substantial amount of vegetables.  Meatball stew is made by browning seasoned meatballs, making a roux, adding the trinity and stock, or even water, and simmering. You want a brown gravy. Served over rice. Chicken stew is similar.  We also call it smothered chicken or even chicken fricassee.  People eat smothered rabbit, and smothered pork chops, smothered round steak. All braised dishes served over rice, but not all made with a roux. Dishes that can be made relatively inexpensively to feed a family. Cajun food was poor people food. Rustic, one pot, home cooking.

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

Re: dietary restrictions. I often don't say anything about needing to be gluten-free, in part because I can eat "around" most wheat-containing items, and in part because my celiac disease is not severe enough but what I can tolerate the amount of wheat in, say, a lot of Chinese sauces, or used to bread something, or even the (very) occasional roll or bun


There were people in my groups like you, who would let me know they would self-select with regard to gluten. I was always grateful for this attitude!

 

Part of the problem was that the kitchen staffs for the first dinner of the program and the first lunch of the program needed me to specify ahead of time if anyone needed a gluten-free meal. I could deal with the other meals once the program began. Invariably, someone specified a gluten free diet and then balked when they saw what other people had and wanted that. At the hotel it wasn’t as big of a problem. At the folk life village for lunch the next day, the staff would get mad at me if they’d made an alternate meal and then the person wanted to eat the other stuff, like gumbo. I finally learned I needed to call people ahead of time and ask them if they would be eating gumbo and the like. But when I had a bunch of programs back to back, it was difficult to find the time.

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1 hour ago, patti said:

One lady in the group called me over and said she wanted a biscuit. I told her the kitchen was out of biscuits. 

 

“I want my biscuit.”

 

Her friend nervously offered to share her biscuit.

 

“I want my own biscuit.”

 

The friend offered her the entire biscuit, insisting that she have it. Nope.

 

The server walked up and apologized. “Ma’am, I’m so sorry. We had an unexpected group who came in for lunch earlier, and we’re out of biscuits.”

 

“I. WANT. MY. BISCUIT!”

 

This made me laugh (I'm sure it wasn't funny when it was happening). Wow, sounds like people really do revert back to childhood behavior.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, patti said:

Of those of you who aren’t familiar with hamburger steaks, do you see the humor in this question?

I'm not familiar with hamburger steaks.  Like @cdh, I imagined it to be a burger on a plate instead of a bun so the question of how much was steak and how much hamburger makes no sense so it's only puzzling to me rather than truly humorous. 

You , on the other hand, are a woman of exceptionally good humor to deal with these characters and come out the other side with good stories rather than angst.  Thank you for sharing them with us!

And the emoji I most want to use for most of your stories is the good old 🙄

 

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@blue_dolphinWhen you’re in it, you can’t always laugh, although occasionally I would remind myself that it was going to make a good story. The people in my department looked forward to my return from a program, so they could hear the latest. 

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26 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

 

This made me laugh (I'm sure it wasn't funny when it was happening). Wow, sounds like people really do revert back to childhood behavior.

 

 


Speaking of childish behavior, this one is about a retired CEO. An oil industry executive. 
 

I buy large bags of these:

 


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Instead of ordering dessert after the pizza meal, I would hand out gallon sized zip lock bags of chocolate and tell everyone to take a few and pass them down. With large groups there were a couple of zip lock bags. One night in a small group of about fifteen people, a man in the group pulled me aside after dinner was over. He complained (read: whined) that the people at the other end of the table kept the candy too long and it was awhile before he got any. Like a petulant child. Sigh. The next day, on a field trip, I pulled the bag of candy out of my bag, and handed it to him.  “You get to be first, today!”  He seemed very happy. 
 

Haha. A man who headed a company and who could afford to buy much better chocolate than that, and in great quantities, pouted because he was last to get candy! People amaze me. 😂

 

In another program, as I was collecting the bags of candy from the tables, a woman grabbed a bag out of my hands and said, “I’ll take that! I want to make sure people have some for tomorrow.” Never saw that bag of chocolate again.  The next day, I pulled the other bag of candy out of my bag to pass around on the bus. She wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. 🤨

 

 

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Once or twice a year we ran a program called, “Cooking in Cajun Country.” Mornings were spent in a university kitchen with six cooking stations. Each day featured a different chef or cooking instructor, and the group made their lunch using recipes provided by that day’s chef.
 
The food budget was a little higher for that program, and it was the only program that our opening night dinner was out at a restaurant, instead of the hotel.
 
In a previous post I explained a little about the group’s first meeting. In addition to dispersing program folders and name tags, I laid out the week for them, going through the itinerary, explaining how things were going to work, managing their expectations, if you will. I gave them some background info about the area, and some basic history of the people. After my presentation, introductions were made. Each person stood, told us their name, where they were from, and a little bit about themselves.
 
Let me say that I’ve had plenty of eccentric people in my programs. Being eccentric doesn’t mean you won’t be a good participant, but sometimes there are signs.
 
On this particular opening night, one woman walked in a little bit late, and headed for the back of the room. I tried to get her attention so I could give her the program folder, but she wouldn’t look at me and she didn’t seem to realize that I was talking to her. I had to walk over to her and touch her arm to get her to look up and receive the folder.
 
I went through my opening night spiel, and then introductions began. It’s always fun to discover that someone who works for Road Scholar is part of the group at introduction time! Thanks for the heads up! 😮 (It was a very nice guy from the company, and his wife. They said they signed up on a whim, but of course I was thinking they were there to judge me). But they are not the reason for this story.
 
One of the last introductions was made by our latecomer.  She told us her name, and that she was from southern California. Did I forget to mention that she walked in wearing a chef’s hat? An important detail. 
 
With great pride she announced, “I went to culinary school, and then I got a job at the hamburger stand at the zoo.” 
 
She had a Valley Girl-esque speech pattern, and she was 63. Her intro was slightly strange and her occupation was atypical for the group, but it was a cooking program, after all. 
 
We left for dinner at 6:30, and the restaurant was about fifteen minutes away. It was only my second time using this restaurant. It was on the small side, but they were willing and able to take our group of 24, including me and the bus driver. I’d worked with them to create a menu that included a grilled sausage and boudin board appetizer, a choice of salad or gumbo, 3 mains to choose from, and dessert. I was excited for my group to try it.
 
As we were led to our tables, our tocque wearer chose her spot. I quickly noticed that others were avoiding sitting next to her, so I moved in to sit near her, as did our driver (a college student who was one of my favorite drivers), and a married couple.
 
We settled in and ordered. The married couple ordered drinks, as did many others in the group, which is pretty normal. I had my usual iced tea. Everything was cordial, there was lots of conversation, although not much from the chef. At one point, she turned to our driver, and asked what the wage was in Louisiana. He looked puzzled, so I asked if she meant minimum wage. “Yes. At the hamburger stand at the zoo, we make $8.00 an hour.” 
 
Near the end of the meal, but before dessert was served, she told me that she was tired and asked if the bus driver could take her back to the hotel. I told her no, but that we shouldn’t be too much longer. A few minutes later she asked if she could call a cab. I told her she could, but Lafayette cabs were notoriously slow, and we might leave on the bus before one could arrive. (This was 2014 and Lafayette didn’t have Uber until 2015.) Our driver offered to go and unlock the bus if she wanted to rest there, where it was quiet. She didn’t. 
 
She got up and left the table. I assumed it was to visit the ladies room, but she’d actually gone to the bar, though not to get a drink. I think maybe to get away from the group. A little later she returned to where the group was sitting, and shouted, “I’m going home! I told you I was sick and you wouldn’t take me back to the hotel! I gave you two chances!” And then she went back to her seat at the bar.
 
 I was completely shocked. I asked the couple and the driver, “Did she say she was sick? I thought she said tired. I’d have handled it differently if she’d said she was sick.” They assured me she’d never said she was sick.
 
I went to the bar. “I’m so sorry. I thought you were just tired. The driver is starting the bus now,” and I touched her arm to reassure her.
 
She snatched her arm away and said, “It’s too late! You are harassing me and I’m calling the police!”
 
I returned to the group and sat down, trying to figure out how I was going to reason with her. A few minutes later I saw that she was now outside, pacing around the parking lot. I decided to go outside and try again. The man who’d been sitting with us with his wife decided he’d come, too.
 
Surprisingly, just as we started trying to calm her down, a taxi appeared. Fastest ever in Lafayette history. My helper got her into the cab, told her to go get some rest at the hotel, and it would all be better tomorrow, and when she started arguing with the cabbie about price, he even paid the cabbie.
 
And then the police arrived. She really had called them! She jumped out of the cab and ran over to the officer just as he was getting out of his vehicle.  She pointed at me and shouted, “She’s drunk! And she is not looking out for my safety!”
 
WTH? I was not expecting that. I moved forward, wanting to defend myself, but the police officer held up his hand for me to stop. I did. He wanted to hear her side. He and his partner listened, and at one point I heard them ask her how much SHE’D had to drink. Then they put her in the cab and sent her on her way.
 
I introduced myself, told them who I worked for and why we were there, and asked them what else they needed from me. They both laughed. “Nothing. Have a good night.”
 
By now, all of my group was outside and filing into the bus. I had to go back into the restaurant and check over the bill and pay. I was dazed and confused. I’m pretty sure I didn’t check the math.
 
The bus was abuzz when I got back on. At first, I was just silent, trying to process what had happened. I recall the bus driver asking me to look at how close he was to something, and I’m pretty sure I said it was fine, without actually seeing anything. 😂
 
I had to collect myself and become a leader again and offer some explanation about what had taken place. A few had been close enough to hear some of it, and they’d already spread the word. I’d also completely forgotten that someone from the Road Scholar office was on the program. Great time to be judged! 
 
I knew I’d have to call both my departmental head at the university as well as the   after hours number for Road Scholar to report the incident. 
 
I made the call around 9:00 pm, and they returned the call at 2:00 am. I never did figure out why they waited till 2:00 am to call me back, but that’s beside the point. I explained what had happened, and just as I started to make it clear that I had not been drinking, she stopped me. 
 
“Patti, we know your reputation as coordinator and group leader. You don’t have to defend yourself. If you want us to, we can make arrangements for her return home tomorrow. Or, you could see if she feels better in the morning and apologizes for her behavior.” I chose the former.
 
The next morning, as I was heading to breakfast, someone from the hotel stopped me to let me know there was someone looking for me in the breakfast room. And there she was, now dressed in full chef regalia, from her head down to her toes.
 
“I changed my mind! I’m staying. I called my dad and he said I should stick it out!”
 
“No, you are not staying. You called the police and lied and said I was drunk. Road Scholar is making the arrangements for your flight home right now.”
 
She looked sad, but did not protest. At that moment Road Scholar called my cell to ask a couple of questions, and then asked me to put her on the phone. “Patti doesn’t even care about me, all she cares about is her job.” 🙄
 
My boss from the university showed up at the hotel about this time to see how things were going. She got an assignment from Road Scholar to go to the airport and spy on our guest to make sure she actually got on the plane!
 
The group was very happy with the decision to send her home. They were concerned about who was going to have to work with her, since they break into teams to work at the six stations. In the end, I think it was good that RS had a representative there who saw it all unfold and how I handled it. After this initial glitch, we had a great time that week.
 
And that is the story of the one time I sent someone home from a program. 
Edited by patti (log)
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38 minutes ago, Shelby said:

She sounds like she wasn't playing with a full deck. 😳

I wondered if the culinary school had been some type of vocational training, and the job at the zoo some kind of supervised position or sheltered workshop.  I wasn’t around her long enough to get a real idea of her capabilities. 
 

Her meds list was long, with some heavy hitters. I later wondered if she’d taken some night time meds that made her really tired, but what do I know? Also, calling her dad to tell him she wanted to go home at age 63?

 

But yeah, something not quite right. 

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Initially, I tried to stay away from using the company name, but it’s hard to keep saying educational travel company or whatever. Also, I no longer work for them. Also, also, I’m not calling them out. But maybe I should call them The Home Office™️?

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That last story - oh my goodness!  As I've said before - mental issues are fodder for some bizarro stories. At her level it sure sounds like illness and not ill manners. You handled it well from where I sit. Traumatic for the other participants too.

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Whew. Amazing all the guises in which batshit crazy shows up. (Pardon me; that isn't very sympathetic.) Props to you, Patti, for handling it well!

 

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Speaking of eccentric people, I was puzzled by a socially awkward man in one of my programs. He didn’t interact much with others. During lectures, he took copious notes, focusing only on his notebook. I really thought he hadn’t enjoyed himself at all until the next year when he showed up to repeat the same program! 
 

This time around he even greeted me with a warm hug. Because he was a little friendlier than before, I felt I could ask him about his note taking. Was it a way to stay focused and shut out distractions? It was. I knew he was a college professor with a PhD, and highly intelligent. I wondered if he might be on the autism spectrum, specifically Asperger’s Syndrome. (You can take the girl out of the Speech and Language Pathologist field, but you can’t take the SLP out of the girl.)

 

A perfect example of his lack of social skills and cues was what happened on pizza night. In a previous post, I mentioned that I ordered sampler pizzas with three kinds of pizza. Servers would place one giant sampler for every four people to share and sample each kind. I always ordered a couple of extra pizzas so that those with heartier appetites wouldn’t go hungry. This particular night, I was sitting across from our guy. As soon as the pizza was placed on the table, he reached out and scooped up all of one of the kinds of pizza, meaning the others wouldn’t have a chance to try that one. The people around him sort of gasped. I couldn’t very well ask him to put some back, as he’d scooped them up with his hands. He seemed completely unaware of his faux pas. I made light of it by reminding the others that a couple of extra pizzas would be coming out and they should be sure they had a chance to try all three varieties. He never noticed a thing. (I liked him, anyway. Really sweet guy.)

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On 5/23/2021 at 12:24 PM, patti said:
Once or twice a year we ran a program called, “Cooking in Cajun Country.” Mornings were spent in a university kitchen with six cooking stations. Each day featured a different chef or cooking instructor, and the group made their lunch using recipes provided by that day’s chef.
 
The food budget was a little higher for that program, and it was the only program that our opening night dinner was out at a restaurant, instead of the hotel.
 
In a previous post I explained a little about the group’s first meeting. In addition to dispersing program folders and name tags, I laid out the week for them, going through the itinerary, explaining how things were going to work, managing their expectations, if you will. I gave them some background info about the area, and some basic history of the people. After my presentation, introductions were made. Each person stood, told us their name, where they were from, and a little bit about themselves.
 
Let me say that I’ve had plenty of eccentric people in my programs. Being eccentric doesn’t mean you won’t be a good participant, but sometimes there are signs.
 
On this particular opening night, one woman walked in a little bit late, and headed for the back of the room. I tried to get her attention so I could give her the program folder, but she wouldn’t look at me and she didn’t seem to realize that I was talking to her. I had to walk over to her and touch her arm to get her to look up and receive the folder.
 
I went through my opening night spiel, and then introductions began. It’s always fun to discover that someone who works for Road Scholar is part of the group at introduction time! Thanks for the heads up! 😮 (It was a very nice guy from the company, and his wife. They said they signed up on a whim, but of course I was thinking they were there to judge me). But they are not the reason for this story.
 
One of the last introductions was made by our latecomer.  She told us her name, and that she was from southern California. Did I forget to mention that she walked in wearing a chef’s hat? An important detail. 
 
With great pride she announced, “I went to culinary school, and then I got a job at the hamburger stand at the zoo.” 
 
She had a Valley Girl-esque speech pattern, and she was 63. Her intro was slightly strange and her occupation was atypical for the group, but it was a cooking program, after all. 
 
We left for dinner at 6:30, and the restaurant was about fifteen minutes away. It was only my second time using this restaurant. It was on the small side, but they were willing and able to take our group of 24, including me and the bus driver. I’d worked with them to create a menu that included a grilled sausage and boudin board appetizer, a choice of salad or gumbo, 3 mains to choose from, and dessert. I was excited for my group to try it.
 
As we were led to our tables, our tocque wearer chose her spot. I quickly noticed that others were avoiding sitting next to her, so I moved in to sit near her, as did our driver (a college student who was one of my favorite drivers), and a married couple.
 
We settled in and ordered. The married couple ordered drinks, as did many others in the group, which is pretty normal. I had my usual iced tea. Everything was cordial, there was lots of conversation, although not much from the chef. At one point, she turned to our driver, and asked what the wage was in Louisiana. He looked puzzled, so I asked if she meant minimum wage. “Yes. At the hamburger stand at the zoo, we make $8.00 an hour.” 
 
Near the end of the meal, but before dessert was served, she told me that she was tired and asked if the bus driver could take her back to the hotel. I told her no, but that we shouldn’t be too much longer. A few minutes later she asked if she could call a cab. I told her she could, but Lafayette cabs were notoriously slow, and we might leave on the bus before one could arrive. (This was 2014 and Lafayette didn’t have Uber until 2015.) Our driver offered to go and unlock the bus if she wanted to rest there, where it was quiet. She didn’t. 
 
She got up and left the table. I assumed it was to visit the ladies room, but she’d actually gone to the bar, though not to get a drink. I think maybe to get away from the group. A little later she returned to where the group was sitting, and shouted, “I’m going home! I told you I was sick and you wouldn’t take me back to the hotel! I gave you two chances!” And then she went back to her seat at the bar.
 
 I was completely shocked. I asked the couple and the driver, “Did she say she was sick? I thought she said tired. I’d have handled it differently if she’d said she was sick.” They assured me she’d never said she was sick.
 
I went to the bar. “I’m so sorry. I thought you were just tired. The driver is starting the bus now,” and I touched her arm to reassure her.
 
She snatched her arm away and said, “It’s too late! You are harassing me and I’m calling the police!”
 
I returned to the group and sat down, trying to figure out how I was going to reason with her. A few minutes later I saw that she was now outside, pacing around the parking lot. I decided to go outside and try again. The man who’d been sitting with us with his wife decided he’d come, too.
 
Surprisingly, just as we started trying to calm her down, a taxi appeared. Fastest ever in Lafayette history. My helper got her into the cab, told her to go get some rest at the hotel, and it would all be better tomorrow, and when she started arguing with the cabbie about price, he even paid the cabbie.
 
And then the police arrived. She really had called them! She jumped out of the cab and ran over to the officer just as he was getting out of his vehicle.  She pointed at me and shouted, “She’s drunk! And she is not looking out for my safety!”
 
WTH? I was not expecting that. I moved forward, wanting to defend myself, but the police officer held up his hand for me to stop. I did. He wanted to hear her side. He and his partner listened, and at one point I heard them ask her how much SHE’D had to drink. Then they put her in the cab and sent her on her way.
 
I introduced myself, told them who I worked for and why we were there, and asked them what else they needed from me. They both laughed. “Nothing. Have a good night.”
 
By now, all of my group was outside and filing into the bus. I had to go back into the restaurant and check over the bill and pay. I was dazed and confused. I’m pretty sure I didn’t check the math.
 
The bus was abuzz when I got back on. At first, I was just silent, trying to process what had happened. I recall the bus driver asking me to look at how close he was to something, and I’m pretty sure I said it was fine, without actually seeing anything. 😂
 
I had to collect myself and become a leader again and offer some explanation about what had taken place. A few had been close enough to hear some of it, and they’d already spread the word. I’d also completely forgotten that someone from the Road Scholar office was on the program. Great time to be judged! 
 
I knew I’d have to call both my departmental head at the university as well as the   after hours number for Road Scholar to report the incident. 
 
I made the call around 9:00 pm, and they returned the call at 2:00 am. I never did figure out why they waited till 2:00 am to call me back, but that’s beside the point. I explained what had happened, and just as I started to make it clear that I had not been drinking, she stopped me. 
 
“Patti, we know your reputation as coordinator and group leader. You don’t have to defend yourself. If you want us to, we can make arrangements for her return home tomorrow. Or, you could see if she feels better in the morning and apologizes for her behavior.” I chose the former.
 
The next morning, as I was heading to breakfast, someone from the hotel stopped me to let me know there was someone looking for me in the breakfast room. And there she was, now dressed in full chef regalia, from her head down to her toes.
 
“I changed my mind! I’m staying. I called my dad and he said I should stick it out!”
 
“No, you are not staying. You called the police and lied and said I was drunk. Road Scholar is making the arrangements for your flight home right now.”
 
She looked sad, but did not protest. At that moment Road Scholar called my cell to ask a couple of questions, and then asked me to put her on the phone. “Patti doesn’t even care about me, all she cares about is her job.” 🙄
 
My boss from the university showed up at the hotel about this time to see how things were going. She got an assignment from Road Scholar to go to the airport and spy on our guest to make sure she actually got on the plane!
 
The group was very happy with the decision to send her home. They were concerned about who was going to have to work with her, since they break into teams to work at the six stations. In the end, I think it was good that RS had a representative there who saw it all unfold and how I handled it. After this initial glitch, we had a great time that week.
 
And that is the story of the one time I sent someone home from a program. 

Wonderful story!

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On 5/23/2021 at 2:24 PM, patti said:
Did I forget to mention that she walked in wearing a chef’s hat? An important detail. 
 
With great pride she announced, “I went to culinary school, and then I got a job at the hamburger stand at the zoo.” 
 
 

So, I lost it here for a little while.  Honest to God, @patti – did you spend half your time at work looking for the hidden camera? 🤣

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39 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

So, I lost it here for a little while.  Honest to God, @patti – did you spend half your time at work looking for the hidden camera? 🤣


I’ll just say that it was always interesting! From the ridiculous to the sublime.

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Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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