Taking One For The Team

It was raining hockey tickets on me yesterday…which was very cool because it was my off-day and hockey is my favorite professional sport to attend. In addition to that, the best team in the league was visiting the Stars and our team has started playing well after spending the first third of the season in disarray. Plus, I’d already had a good day, too…saw a good movie in the afternoon.

Anyway, Kelsey and I planned on meeting the Phisch family for dinner, and we decided on a new place in town called Texas Road House. Ever since I’ve seen the place going up I can’t help but think of that really bad Patrick Swayze movie…which made me want to try it all the more.

We got there early enough to get our larger-than-normal party seated immediately and I found something on the menu that looked GREAT. The hot rolls were really good and I was having a great time playing with Little Phisch 1 who’d brought some G.I. Joe toys he got for Christmas. We had a small war of sorts that involved submerging my G.I. Joe under the ice of a glass of water and diving into the bucket of peanut shells to hide.

Then things went haywire all of a sudden.

The waitress took our order. It took a tiny bit longer than expected for our food to arrive, but we didn’t think much of it because the place filled up not long after we got there and it’s only been open for 3 weeks. However, in the meantime, our waitress had disappeared.

The food finally came. Minus one essential part of the Phisch family order…and some question about the Phisch’s meat being cooked accurately–but that was minor. My Kid1 didn’t get a side order. I got nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The disappearing waitress never showed. Not to refill drinks or check on us or anything. Mrs. Phisch asked a table busser to please get her or a manager.

Both of them showed at different times. Both of them returned to explain what went wrong…or at least tried to. There weren’t many clear answers. Interestingly, neither seemed to be focused on correcting said problem, but were highly intrigued as to WHY things went wrong.

The manager brought part of the food…and while she was on her way to the table, she saw the food delivery person at the table next to us drop a small container of honey mustard, which landed in such a way as to shoot a STRAIGHT LINE of honey mustard about 4 feet directly on to my shoe and pant leg.

At this point, everybody knows this has gone horribly awry. Even more than just a goof-up.

The manager offered to get me a towel…wet on one side, dry on the other. Shaking her head and trying to relieve the tension by making a joke about how horribly awry this has gone and how she’s never seen anything like it.

The waitress brought my meal, but now we’ve been there over an hour and are later than we wanted to be to get to the hockey game on time. I mentioned that to the manager…

…who immediately comped the meal for our entire table because she said we didn’t get to eat together and so much time was spent fixing the problem. She threw in some coupons for $5 off the next time we visited.

So, I’m not THAT guy. The one that has a bad experience and writes off the place and storms out. I did eat the plate, called “Road Kill,” interestingly enough, in record time. I appreciated the fact that the whole table got comped and the manager did appear genuinely embarrassed. And, yes, I tipped the waitress WAY more than customary. She tried, and from what I could tell, wasn’t the reason for the mix-up. And, yes, I will go back when they’ve had a chance to get the kinks worked out of the system. You can’t guarantee things won’t go wrong, but you can do everything possible to make the customer feel appreciated, and they did that…so, kudos to the folks at Texas Road House–you made a negative into a neutral, which is all you can ask given the circumstances.

We headed to the parking lot making jokes that I took all the punishment and everybody else benefitted…so I was glad to take one for the team.

Parking was a breeze even though the game was sold out. I got to wave at Phisch Kid1 from our seats above theirs and kind of wished I’d had some parachutes and G.I. Joe guys to drop his way. Then our team outplayed the league-leaders but still lost the game and the last five minutes were especially exciting.

But there are worse ways to spend an evening than with good friends, free tickets, a comped meal, time with Kid1, a good game and good conversation on the way home, that’s for sure.