Very few things get me as agitated as trying to enjoy french fries with the small, rationed ketchup portions dispensed in those ridiculous packets. Even the little cups of ketchup are insufficient to the task. After all… it’s America. You ought to be able to have all the ketchup you want.
Several years ago, we were having a lovely dinner at Skinny J’s restaurant in Paragould, Arkansas. Our server, a young lady (let’s say) named Michele, was doing a fantastic job caring for us as we dined on gourmet hamburgers and a perfectly prepared batch of french fries.
As is our custom, we work to practice our emotional intelligence (specifically, social awareness and relationship management) on what we refer to as the “7-11 practice fields”, interacting with others we encounter during our travels in as human a way as possible. That’s not always pleasant, but in Michele’s case, she was doing a nice job, so we made the effort to call her by her name and to acknowledge the other tables she was caring for.
Then…the ketchup was served. A handful of those carefully rationed portions of the condiment I required, complete with the anticipated mess of torn packets all over the dinner table and that little drab of ketchup that never seems to successfully make it into the pile I create for the perfect french fry dipping experience.
We called Michele over and asked her in a muted tone, if we could have more ketchup. She leaned in, and in a hushed voice, shared that “I could get in trouble for this, but for you guys, I’ll bring the whole bottle.” Victory. The spoils of successfully practiced emotional intelligence on that 7-11 practice field.
Fast forward. Two weeks ago, my colleagues and I found ourselves back in northeastern Arkansas, and again sat down for a meal at Skinny J’s. To my great satisfaction, I saw two, full, ketchup bottles neatly displayed with the other condiments on our table. In fact, those ketchup bottles were on every table.
You never know where the product of your emotional intelligence might lead, and in this case, it meant all the ketchup you can eat at a food establishment in Arkansas. You’re welcome America.