I Have To Confess

When I was fifteen or sixteen I got my first job.  My first job independent of family run jobs or babysitting.   I worked at a fast food place.  The building had been part of a chain of fast food company but had had gone out of business.

When I started work I couldn’t work the weekends because my dad went out of town every weekend and took the kids with him.   They hired me on that condition.

Unfortunately they lied and the second or third week on the schedule they had me scheduled for Sunday.   Morning.   I had trained in the afternoons only.   After school hours.   It was usually pretty laid back.   But for the one time period of forty five minutes or so that the factory across the street had their dinner break.   The restaurant was not great, and even when it got “busy” that was only relative to what it was like when there weren’t three, four or five guys coming in at the same time for a lunch/dinner break.

I had never run the cash register for breakfast.  So I didn’t know where anything was.   And I had never had to call back the orders.  The registers sent the orders to the cooks.   They did everything different for breakfast.  But no one  had bothered to train me on this.

I went to work expecting the same thing I had come to expect.  A painfully dull and unfun shift with one cranky person and a few pretty interesting individuals.   I don’t know if I was being made a fool of but one guy claimed to have been a cook on one of the presidential planes.   I prefer to think he was telling the truth.  But believing it was the truth I felt sorry for him and wondered how he ended up here, with me.  Then I felt sorry for both of us.   It wasn’t a bad place to work, it was just a sad place to work.

So I get to work.     I got a five minute crash course on what the breakfast shift was like.   For someone who doesn’t focus well five minutes of direct demands, bossiness and instruction was five minutes of me saying in my head “what?  what?  what?”    Which means while they were talking all I could hear was  my own voice.   And wouldn’t you know…..it was busy.   I mean there was anywhere from ten to twenty people at a time in the restaurant.   People getting out of church.  Coming in wearing their suits and dresses.   And in comes an older couple I recognized from my church.   He was a pretty famous guy as far as church goers go.

I didn’t know his name.  I didn’t know his wife (who looked very pretty in a yellow dress and I’m not sure why I remember that).  I didn’t know what he did.  But he was always one of those guys who was an usher, or reader, or just important looking.   And he wore a suit.

They come through my line.  They were very pleasant.  They ordered.  Paid.  Thank you.  You’re welcome.   They had to go sit down and someone would bring it to them.

I keep taking orders.  I notice them sitting by the front window.   I get busy, taking orders.   When my line slows down I notice the person next to me taking the last person at the counter’s order, turn around and give the cooks the order verbally.


I look out at the restaurant.  My older church famous persons were sitting there looking at me.  They had been sitting there maybe….forty minutes or so.

Uh oh.

Did my five minute zone out include telling me that I am supposed to take orders and give them to the cooks verbally, and the computer doesn’t tell them….

I look out again and he catches my eye.  I have to say he was very classy.  I had been busy up until then.  And he did not come up.  Now, he approached.  I started to sweat.  He came to the counter.  I was a very timid person.   I didn’t want to get yelled at.  I didn’t want to have to explain to my boss, the owner, who sat in an office with a one way viewing window watching us….

He didn’t yell at me but showed me his receipt and the time on it.  I took the receipt and told him I would check.   He went and sat down.

I stepped back in to the cooking area and asked them to make the order.   They asked what happened.  Oh God.  I lied.  I told them I gave them the order.

The cook didn’t really care and made the breakfast.

I took it out to the couple and gave them profuse apologies.

Oh God.  I lied again.   I apologized for the kitchen forgetting their order.

I have carried that guilt around for decades.

I bet this is why I am uncomfortable whenever I walk in to a church.

I needed to come clean on this.

If this happened to be you oh so many years ago somewhere in the heart of the United States, and you are a man who would be anywhere from 108 to 112 years of age now, or a woman who is now 106 to 110…..I just want to say I’m sorry for messing up your breakfast date.

And I’m really sorry for lying to you.

And ….cook person, I apologize to you to.

And I wish I had had the courage then to say I was wrong.

I want you to know I feel bad and I think of you on occasion and wish I had just told you the truth.  And I think of you when I am in a restaurant and some young server is having a rough time getting things right.

36 thoughts on “I Have To Confess

  1. It’s hard when it’s your job. I have to tell myself that daily. Because I have to have uncomfortable conversations with people when they don’t do their jobs right, and they look at me and….lie. But I know why they do it. Nobody wants to lose their job. Glad you came clean. Hope you feel better.


    • I don’t even know why I lied. It wasn’t like the couple was being mean, I don’t even think they complained to anyone. He just came up and asked me. And I put the order in with the cook and he gave it to me. I think I was just……stupid. It’s bothered me. It may seem silly as long ago as it was. But I kind of wish that couple knew I think of them even all these years later. And I wish I hadn’t of lied.


  2. Yeah, I feel vety sorry for the cook who took the heat for this one. Maybe you should have to work in restaurant kitchen for a day.


    • I should have to, you are correct. There is a very small part of me that would like to think if someone had gotten blamed I would have fessed up. I’d like to think that. But I don’t know that I can. Nothing was said to anyone because the man came right to me, I took the order right to the cook, and he made it for me.


  3. Safe to assume this is the same food establishment where my employment lasted exactly one day??? I quit before I got fired—my one and only shift was a busy Sunday afternoon shift and they made me go to the tables and take orders……. without writing them down!


    • Thanks Koji. 🙂 It still bothers me I did that. I think I worry about if I “would” again. I hope not. I don’t think I have. Or it would have been added to that guilt backpack I carry around!


  4. I hate waiting for anything. I probably would have came up before 40 minutes! But if it helps, I would have forgiven you 🙂


  5. Colleen, you have one of the biggest hearts I have ever come across. I’ve been guilty of blaming the kitchen before, too. Sometimes, when we’re in a panic, we do what we can to save our own butts. It might be sad, but it’s true. It’s just in our nature, when we have to think fast. Don’t beat yourself up, too much. I’m sure they’d forgive you. 🙂


    • I’m pretty sure they would have too. They were kind. Not mean or bossy. Didn’t try to get me in trouble or anything. It’s amazing the things we remember. And why. Thank you so much for your VERY kind words. 🙂


  6. Colleen, that is what happens still today – the waiters forget the food and then the blame the chefs. And the chefs know about it … I don’t think they care neither that they are being blamed, so use to it. So you are in very good company. Believe me .. I have the T-shirt too.
    So relax – it’s life … and I’m sure the lady if she are alive, soon forgotten the whole thing and it probably happen to her a couple of more times during her life time.


  7. After rereading the blog and the comments I think it was a karmic series of events to teach you a lesson. You have the cook who knows he is being blamed but accepts it as his part in the lesson. You have the understanding older couple from church who patiently wait for their meal. You have a young girl that lies to get out of a temporary fix, but regrets it. This regret helps teach the importance of the truth and taking responsibility for ones’ actions, which helps her become a better person.


  8. I am the 109 year old man who this happened to oh so many years ago. I have been scouring the internet for years trying to track you down. I always wondered why it took an hour to get an egg sandwich and now my mystery has been solved. Whew! I can quit pondering this situation now and finally rest easy! Thanks for coming clean and your apology is accepted!….Great post Colleen! Love it!


    • I started reading your comment (of course seeing it was from you) but found I was holding my breath to see what the 109 year old man would say. As simple as this may seem, thank you for speaking for him. Or speaking to me. 🙂


      • Oh you are welcome! Of course I was just trying to be funny. In all actuality I’m sure that couple never thought about it again after that day. It’s funny how something so profound to us can be such a minute situation to someone else! I’ve found this out as I have gotten older and talking to people about my memories and the other people who were involved have no recollection of it or remember it differently!


        • Oh I know! I got your humor and was surprised at how much I was anticipating what you were going to actually say. 🙂 I was relieved! And you are so right! Isn’t it absolutely amazing how our different perspectives can take one simple action or interaction and paint it many many different ways! Amazing! Thank you for your response though, I still love it (and it was quite creative on it’s own!)


  9. I think it ALWAYS works that way… I wouldn’t call it lying, it’s kinda bending the truth. It’s also called being diplomatic, I guess. I work in a restaurant and I’m telling I am always BENDING THE truth when things like this happen. 🙂


  10. You do have a heart of God. Your un-confessed sin is now confessed and that couple is smiling down on you – as is the rest of us for your honesty. And on that note, that lapse in judgement was forgiven a long time on a cross in Jerusalem one dark Friday. Now I am thinking of my lapse’s in judgement and sins of my past…. Good post – Patty


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