A couple of months ago I was watching some Dateline show about celebrity treatment in airports versus the plight of the regular Joe. Or Jane in my case.
To be specific, apparently Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fly British Airways (when they are forced to go commercial vs. private charter) and to make sure they never switch carriers, the BA people escort the Jolie-Pitt’s through the entire security/boarding process all while providing any other perk they could possibly want. According to the Dateline experiment, it takes the normal person over an hour from entering the airport to actually take their seat on the plane and be served a miniature bag of pretzels and a can of Diet Coke while the Jolie-Pitts and their brood are typically seated in 20 minutes and eating meals specially prepared to their liking.
That made me think: What must it be like to be a powerful someone for whom people bend over backwards to make sure your needs are met, to anticipate what you want before you even know yourself, and to generally make it their goal to make certain you are happy so you will continue to use their service? I mean really, wouldn’t any of us like to be Queen for a Day?
Well get a load of this…and don’t be jealous.
There is a Mexican restaurant one town over from us. Luke and I have been faithful patrons since we’ve moved to the area. We know the owner, Mario, well and he always greets us with free cheese dip. Over the years, our Sunday lunch group has grown to 20+ and he never fails to take great care of us. He has extended the free cheese dip offer to our entire gang which may possibly be the reason so many have joined our table. (Don’t worry, Homies. We know there’s an ulterior motive to your sitting with us but we still love you. ) So imagine his distress when another rival Mexican restaurant opened smack in the middle of our town.
When Mario first asked if we’d heard about the new restaurant, we told him yes but that he shouldn’t worry – we would always have our Sunday lunch with him. For that token of comfort, he discounted our bill. The week after, he stopped by the church office and made a donation to our building fund. I have no idea how The Pope felt about that – seeing as how Mario is Catholic – but we thanked him and later in the week went to have lunch which he discounted again.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Now I swore we would never go to the new guy just because Mario has been so great. But, I broke down a couple of times when football practice was over late and we couldn’t have made it to the next town before closing time. However, Sundays were off limits. I absolutely drew the line against eating there on a Sunday.
And then I stepped over it.
We had some friends to visit church from Georgia and even though the New Place isn’t as good, we wanted to eat nearby so we could have plenty of time to spend the afternoon at home with them. A better woman would have cooked lunch but it’s all I can do to get my family out the door with matching clothes on Sunday morning. So, I caved and we ate in town. Unfortunately our entire posse caved as well. The New Guy lit up with an excitment that said, “I can pay the light bill this month!” I on the other hand felt like an adulterer during the entire meal.
Fast forward to the following week. Luke and I only had a couple of minutes for lunch so where did we go? You guessed it – the Mexican restaurant in town. (Cheaters!! ) I saw a friend inside and mentioned to her – apparently in earshot of the New Guy, the fake Mario – that I felt horrible for cheating on him and that we were going back to The Original that next Sunday no matter what.
It came time for us to pay our bill and the Faux Mario walked over and told us it had been paid. What?! One of our church members was eating there at the time but when Luke asked if it was him who paid the tab, Faux Mario said no and repeated it was taken care of and thanked us for our business.
Sounds like someone wanted us to bring back the Sunday lunch crowd.
Now I have no idea if Mario has spies checking out who is eating with his arch rival, but this week I received this note through our bff’s, Kim and Maury:
“Hey Lisa, This is your “Amigo” Mario from (Insert Name of Restaurant Here – Privacy People). Hope you are feeling better. Take care, tell your family I said Hello. Hasta La Vista my Friend! Mario”
And then tonight I got a phone call from another friend who had been to Mario’s. He sent word to me that if we would just bring the gang back on Sunday, my family would eat free. We were going there anyway, but I don’t know that I’m going to tell him that. I don’t want to accept it. Luke is willing to eat with the lowest bidder. To sweeten the deal, he also said he would give me a t-shirt! So far, Mario wins.
Have you ever?
Never in my life has anyone cared in the least to impress me one bit. What does it say about us that now that it has finally happened, we are being fought over by dueling Mexican Restaurants? Not an airline, not a hotel, not a hot clothing store. But a Mexican Restaurant.
I’ll tell you what it says: The breaking of the Salsa Monopoly is working out great for me.
Angelina Jolie Avocado-Pitt