Waitress And Coworkers Made Fun Of This Poor Girl For Asking An Innocent Question.
When I was around 8 years old, my mum took me to her coworkers wedding. During the reception I was quietly sitting around bored so mother nudged me and asked me if I’d like to get a soda from the bar. This was a Very Big Deal because we grew up very poor. Like, poor to the point I thought it was normal to eat cornflakes with water because milk was a treat for rich people. I was always really anxious about money being spent on me as a result, I’d always feel so guilty. My mother reassured me and told me not to worry because the drinks were free as part of the wedding. She told me I just needed to go up to the bar and ask for a drink and I would get one and I wouldn’t need money. Mind you, the entire restaurant/bar was booked out for the wedding so it’s not like I could have been mistaken as a separate diner who had to pay.
I walk alone up to the bar and see a young woman of around ~22 behind the counter who stares down at me with an annoyed look on her face. I was still really worried about the money issue since I’d never heard of free drinks before, so I shyly asked her, “um… Is it true that the drinks are free?”. I’m a tiny kid and I’d never heard of catering.
The woman stops polishing her wine glass and lets out this loud snort. She then starts smirking. She stared at me silently with that smirk on her face for at least 5 seconds (which is actually really long IRL when it happens to you) and then without taking her eyes off me, she tilts her head and loudly calls out, “Oi, Melissa!! Come over here!” And then she starts cracking up laughing.
A second waitress wanders out of a room behind the counter, stands next to the first waitress and glances at us curiously. She asks whats up. The first waitress sticks her arm out and points her index finger right in my face and while still cackling, she tells Melissa, “this little girl thinks the drinks are FREE”.
Melissa howls with laughter and they both stand like a metre in front of me, one still pointing straight at me, just straight up jeering and laughing uncontrollably. I’m beyond confused and I feel so tiny and humiliated. I thought it was an innocent question? Why are they both making such a big deal about this?
They continued laughing and clutching each other for so long that I started to turn away and walk out on the verge of tears. That makes them stop laughing as hard and Melissa yells out “Oi!”. I turn back. Melissa says to me in an extremely condescending voice, “they’re not free, they’re on the house”.
I’ve never heard of that phrase before and I’m still scared from their reactions so I just kinda froze. They sneer harder and go on to say that “on the house” means I won’t have to pay so hurry up and tell them what drink I want.
And now my earliest memory of Fanta is sitting quietly at the table next to my mum drinking it and feeling so ashamed and tearful because I still didn’t understand why I didn’t have to pay if it wasn’t free, but that it must be my fault for being stupid because grown ups wouldn’t react so strongly unless they had a reason 🙁 (obviously I know better now)
I know it’s such a minor incident since it’s not like it cost me any money, but their reactions were so over the top. I’m now older than they were at the time and I simply can’t understand calling over your coworker to point at and mock a child who was too little to know the difference between “free”, “on the house” and “don’t have to pay”.