Note: I was supposed to write this last night, but I kinda crashed when I got home. So hopefully you'll be getting not one, but TWO posts from me today.
Saturdays at the Grill are mad busy. We had about five straight hours of wait time, usually between an hour and an hour-forty-five.
Things are winding down when a youngish black family comes in. The daughters (I found out later) are 11 and the mother is pregnant. Dad is the big strong silent type, whose only question is if the food was worth the 45-minute wait. I say it's pretty good, but since I'm trying to accomplish five things at once, I don't give them any recommendations. They take a pager and go sit in the bar and lounge. (A note on the Grill's set up: it has a large main dining room that's separate from a pretty big lounge area. The bar itself faces a long high communal table that seats about 20 and there are four high round tables beyond that which seat 4 or 5 and then there are couches and chairs near the band area and a huge fireplace.) They end up sitting at the big table, as that's the only place available.
I'm at the front doing my hostess thing, talking to another hostess about random stuff, when Dad comes back up and asks where the restroom is. It's way in the back, so I show him to it. When I get back to the host stand, the shopping center security guard is standing there, watching the game on the plasmas above the bar. He'd been in the restaurant already, so I didn't pay much attention to him. (I don't know if this matters, but he's black as well... but he's a little guy. I think it matters, because while we get some people of color, most of our clientele is white.) Security Guard wanders away.
.A little while later, one of the daughters runs to the front door, yelling "Ma!! Come on!!" I'm still doing stuff, so I glance up, but keep working. I keep my eye on her though, and in a few minutes, she's crying. I went up to her and asked her what's wrong. "Some guy is bothering my mom!" she says, upset and shaking. I go to the lounge where Dad has returned and is menacing the security guard, while the other daughter is sitting at the table clutching her mother and crying.
I radio the managers, one of whom is luckily right at the host stand, and he comes. He gets between Security Guard and Dad before the other manager arrives. Dad is visibly angered, while Security Guard is poking out his chest and acting indignant. Manager One gets Security Guard out of the restaurant where he hops into his little white truck and peels away. Manager Two is talking to Dad, who says he is not going to have anyone make his daughters cry. M2 asks the mother what happened. I'm standing next to her (trying to be the reassuring female presence) and she demonstrates on me how SG was ALL up in her personal space, telling her directly in her ear how she shouldn't have kids in the lounge because it's "inappropriate" and he wouldn't back off, even after she told him she was with her family. I point out that this is ridiculous, and mention that kids are allowed everywhere in the restaurant, including AT the bar. M2 seconds that, then says he will be calling SG's boss, which he goes off to do.
I get the girls some tissues, Dad tells them to calm down, and Mom reassures them she's fine.
I go back to the stand and tell the other hostess what happened. We notice Dad keeps coming up and going outside for a few minutes. He does this a few times, and I mention it to M2 when he comes up to get the area police department number. M2, who has two daughter of his own, says something which will probably make me love him forever: "I don't blame him. I'd be doing the same thing."
And this is the point, for me. I believe in certain things, and fathers taking necessary steps to protect their families is one of them. It was unlikely that the guard would return; if he had any sense, he'd be in Montreal by now. Yet Dad stood there, keeping watch.
Call me brainwashed, call me archaic, but I believe in gender roles, and I believe they were developed not out of chauvinism, but out of suitability, both physical and emotional. Have I effectively dealt with a man who got too close for comfort? Oh, most definitely. Would I rather have my man do it for me? Yes. I'm sure the mother (who was very calm through all of this) could have held her own, pregnant and all, but why should she have to, especially when she has two young girls who need to know that everything is ok?
These are just my thoughts, though. As Lu would say: "Nothing more, nothing less."
This was a long post, but it was a long night, and now you get to share it with me.
Listening to: Dave Matthews Band, "The Maker"