An obnoxious rich man storms into a fine dining restaurant’s kitchen after noticing a server spitting in his order before bringing it to him. He then learns a lesson about humanity and relationships that changes his life forever.
Mr. Wallace’s mind raced with thoughts while he awaited his order at the restaurant. He knew he’d done some bad things in the past and was now paying for them.
Mr. Wallace’s company was on the verge of bankruptcy. His rival had sued him in retaliation for seducing his wife for a business deal, and he knew he wouldn’t win. The firm’s lawyer had declined to take the case because he couldn’t afford him now.
“It’s probably the last royal dinner I’ll ever have,” the older man murmured. The restaurant where he awaited his dinner was a fine dining establishment with flaxen halogen lamps adorning its corners and a sparkling chandelier in the room’s center.
As he looked around the place, Mr. Wallace’s eyes darted to the table across from him, where several pretty older ladies and a young kid in a wheelchair sat. The older man was heartbroken at the sight.
All his life, Mr. Wallace had focused solely on his company’s growth, and not even once did he ever plan on starting a family. He regretted it now because he didn’t have anyone to share his worries with.
Mr. Wallace was keen on finishing his dinner and heading home as soon as possible. He didn’t want to be the odd one out, the loner, sitting alone at a table in his gloom and grief.
He averted his gaze from the table and buried his face in his hands. Suddenly, a loud chorus of “Happy birthday!” cut off his distracted thoughts. Mr. Wallace looked up to see a woman at the table across from him making a wish and cutting the cake.
The powerful are not those with money but those who stand up for the helpless.
Then she started talking, and Mr. Wallace lost his cool. The woman was shouting at the top of her lungs, but no one appeared to mind.
“Stop shouting in public!” he blurted out. “Don’t you know how to behave?”
The whole table turned to look at Mr. Wallace. “What? It’s not like I’m saying anything wrong!” he snapped.
The older woman who had just cut the cake smiled. “I’M SORRY, SIR!” she yelled. “DID YOU WISH ME HAPPY BIRTHDAY!? THANK YOU IF YOU DID!”
Mr. Wallace was surprised. “Are you freakin’ deaf?” he asked. “I didn’t wish you a happy birthday! I told you to stay quiet and behave! For Christ’s sake, this is a public space!”
The older woman waved her hand dismissively and glanced away from Mr. Wallace, murmuring a thank you and smiling. “HE’S A GENTLEMAN!” she exclaimed loudly to everyone at her table. “LET US NOT ANNOY HIM ANYMORE!”
Mr. Wallace didn’t understand what was wrong with the woman. She continued to talk loudly, despite him mocking her and asking her to shut up. She didn’t seem to realize that she was bothering everyone in the restaurant.
Finally, Mr. Wallace approached her table and aggressively told her to lower her voice. The woman shifted uneasily in her seat, and her face shrank, taking away her lovely smile. “I hope that sinks in your stupid mind!” he grumbled as he returned to his table.
Mr. Wallace was furious and famished. All the 57-year-old businessman wanted was to sit back and relax with his Calotte de Boeuf Grillée and a glass of red wine. But the woman sitting at the table across from him had already ruined his evening.
After a couple of minutes, Mr. Wallace noticed the server who had taken his order preparing his wine and bringing it to his table. “May I?” he said before pouring the wine for Mr. Wallace, and the older man nodded.
“Thank you,” he said. “Will you kindly expedite the order? I have an engagement later tonight.”
The young waiter, Arthur, smiled. “Sure, sir,” he said. “It won’t be long.”
When the businessman finally watched Arthur coming out of the kitchen with a dish in his hand, he poured himself another glass of wine. “Well, the food’s finally here,” he thought, taking a sip of the wine and setting the glass next to the cutlery.
Suddenly, he saw something and froze in place. “What the hell!? Is he out of his bloody mind?”
Mr. Wallace saw Arthur spitting in the dish before walking up to his table and serving it. “There you have it, sir,” he smiled as he placed the order in front of Mr. Wallace. “I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy your meal tonight.”
Mr. Wallace pushed his chair back and jumped to his feet. “Enjoy?” he snapped. “You fool, I saw what you did!”
Mr. Wallace grabbed the dish from the table and stormed into the kitchen. “Where’s the chef?” he demanded angrily. “Get the manager, chef, or whoever this boy’s boss is. Get him here!”
All of the chefs and waiters in the kitchen came to a halt, unable to comprehend what was happening.
Mr. Wallace was enraged. He slammed the plate against the kitchen counter and yanked on Arthur’s collar. “Why in the world did you spit in my dish? Do you do this to every other guest here? You better have an explanation!”
“Whoa, whoa, sir, please,” the head chef, Mr. Bradley, cried as he hurried over and separated Arthur and Mr. Wallace. “What’s going on? May I ask what’s the issue, sir?”
“Ask your goddamn waiter!” Mr. Wallace exploded. “He spat on my plate and had the audacity to serve it as if nothing happened!”
Chef Bradley was stunned. “What?” he gasped. “Well, there must be some misunderstanding. Arthur would never do something like that. He’s one of the most talented kids we have here. What is this gentleman saying, Arthur? Tell him you didn’t do it.”
Arthur didn’t utter a word.
“Oh, I saw him doing it with my eyes! Check the cameras!” Mr. Wallace challenged.
Right then, Arthur spoke up. “I did…” he said. “I… I… I did spit on his dish! And he deserved it!”
“Ha!” Mr. Wallace scoffed. “And there you have it! Your so-called best waiter spitting in dishes!”
Chef Bradley was very disappointed. He knew Arthur was a good employee, and he’d never heard any complaints about him.
However, after Arthur admitted his fault, Chef Bradley was helpless. He couldn’t help but fire Arthur, although he knew the young man worked hard to support his disabled mother and brother.
Once Arthur left the kitchen, Mr. Bradley apologized to Mr. Wallace and said he would personally bring him the most expensive dish at the restaurant. “And it’s on the house,” he graciously added. “So, sir, I respectfully beg that you not escalate the situation. I apologize on Arthur’s behalf for what happened.”
Arthur was worried sick when he was fired. He was scared of losing his job, yet he spat on Mr. Wallace’s plate because he thought nobody saw him.
When Mr. Wallace returned to his table, pleased that he’d been compensated with the restaurant’s most expensive dish, he noticed a sad and defeated Arthur approaching the table where the older woman was celebrating her birthday.
Arthur told her something, and immediately the woman fainted. “Oh my goodness, Mom!” Arthur cried. “Could someone please call an ambulance? Please? Hurry up!”
Mr. Wallace was taken aback. “She’s his mother?” he wondered.
But what shocked the older businessman more was the way Arthur was crying and begging for help. It brought Mr. Wallace’s childhood memories right in front of his eyes.
When Mr. Wallace was a young boy, he couldn’t save his mother from his evil father, who was the reason why he never had a happy childhood and became a stern, cold man. When he saw a helpless Arthur, he realized they had a lot in common. So keeping their differences aside, he immediately called the ambulance and told them to hurry.
As the paramedics arrived, they carried Arthur’s mother to the ambulance, and Arthur gently pushed the young boy’s wheelchair out of the restaurant. Mr. Wallace followed them outside and saw Arthur hugging the boy in the wheelchair and crying.
“Mom will be alright, Rob,” he sobbed. “You go home and wait, OK? Mom’s friends will look after you.”
“Arthur, you’re going with Mum?” the boy asked him sadly. “I’m fine. You take care.”
Arthur disappeared into the ambulance, and Rob and the other women who were dining with Arthur’s mom left. Mr. Wallace felt a pang of sympathy for the family and decided to follow the ambulance.
When they arrived at the hospital, Arthur’s mother was hurried to the emergency ward, and Arthur remained in the hospital corridor. Mr. Wallace took a seat near him on one of the waiting chairs. “Sorry,” he whispered to the young man. “Is she OK?”
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Arthur looked up at Mr. Wallace and was furious. “Why the hell are you here? Aren’t you done ruining our day? You insulted my mother and then got me fired! What more do you want?”
Mr. Wallace let out a sigh. “Do you truly believe I was the one who went wrong here? Young man, you spat in my plate! How else would I respond?”
“You started it, after all,” Arthur growled. “You insulted my mother just because she was talking a bit loud! Sir, she is partially deaf, and she uses a hearing aid! It’s her birthday today! She just wanted to have a good time, so I took her and her friends to the restaurant where I worked. She’s never been to a fancy restaurant before.”
“Spitting in the dish… it was just retaliation! You insulted my mother! And after I told her I was fired and we had to leave, she fainted because she couldn’t take it! She had a heart attack! I’m the family’s breadwinner, and after losing this job, I don’t know what will happen next. My mum taught me how to cook. I would prepare meals for her and my brother, and I decided to come into the culinary industry.
“Before me, Mom used to support us. She busked and sang. Music was her love, but after losing her hearing, she couldn’t support us, so I stepped in. And please don’t say that you can understand all this because you can’t. My younger brother has cerebral palsy, and my mother needs expensive surgery to regain her hearing. And I have no idea what I’m going to do now…”
Mr. Wallace genuinely felt terrible for Arthur. While what he’d done was wrong, his intentions were good. Arthur wanted to protect his mother and be a good son, something Mr. Wallace had failed to do as a young boy.
“I’m sorry, boy!” he said apologetically. “But I do understand your plight. When I was a small boy, my mother died, leaving me alone with my father. He was a terrible, terrible man. Didn’t know how to love his own kid.
“I had a very unfortunate childhood, and to date, I regret I couldn’t save my mother from my father. Depression. That’s what took my mother away. She was not happy with my father, and I didn’t have the slightest clue. I didn’t know we were not the perfect family that my mother always tried to make us believe we were. I grew up in foster care and worked hard to achieve a dignified life.”
“So? Am I supposed to feel bad for you?” Arthur snapped.
“No, no, you’re not,” Mr. Wallace said. “But I want to make it up to you for what I did. Let me, please, take care of your mother’s hospital bills. I’m not a bad guy, after all.”
“You will?” Arthur asked, shocked. “But why—”
“Consider that I want to reflect,” Mr. Wallace said. “Please. And yes, young man…You’re very young and enthusiastic and have this fire to change things and do things for your family. Keep it up but don’t ever cross the boundaries of human decency. What you did today…your revenge or whatever, it was wrong! It’s funny how I’ve never cared about someone like this before.
“I used to think love and friendship don’t matter in life and that you shouldn’t expose your weakness to others. I used to believe that I didn’t need a woman in my life and that they were weak. But your Mum’s a tough one. I now realize how much a person can matter to someone. If you don’t mind, boy, I’d like to contribute to her surgery as well.”
Arthur needed the money desperately, and he realized what he’d done was wrong. He could have handled the matter professionally instead of avenging it by spitting in the dish.
He apologized and thanked Mr. Wallace for his help. And all thanks to misunderstandings being cleared, several lives changed forever that night.
Mr. Wallace reflected on himself and decided to change his life. He recognized that relationships and people were more important than money, just as Arthur’s mother was the most valuable person to the young guy.
So after Arthur’s mother recovered, had the ear surgery done, and returned to her dream life of singing and pursuing music, Mr. Wallace sought Arthur’s help and began working on understanding people’s relationships and bettering himself.
Mr. Wallace had always repaid bad with evil, but he was now constantly striving to improve himself. He sold his company, didn’t take the case’s loss personally, and instead focused on enjoying life and living in the moment.
Then one day, when he visited a restaurant, he ran into Arthur’s mother. She had just finished her singing performance, and Mr. Wallace’s eyes glistened to see he had changed a life for the better.
While everyone else in the room was dancing to slow jazz music, Arthur’s mother approached Mr. Wallace and asked him to dance. They had a sweet conversation, and both decided to move on from their first encounter.
“We can’t erase the past,” he remarked as he took her hand and led her to the dance floor, “but we can work on making the future better.”
As they danced to the slow music, their arms locked and eyes fixated on each other, she nodded. “True,” she said. “Very true.” And they both realized there was something beautiful blossoming between them.
What can we learn from this story?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Mr. Wallace brutally judged Arthur’s mother, unaware she was talking loudly because she was partially deaf.
The powerful are not those with money but those who stand up for the helpless. Mr. Wallace realized it when he heard Arthur’s story and decided to sympathize with the young man.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.