I was sitting there, in the Dairy Queen, waiting for my daughter and her friend to come back from the bathroom. I felt a cold wet sensation on my side, my back, my arm, my thigh. I thought for sure that my daughter and her friend were playing pranks and throwing ice.
I turned to look at the offended locations on my body. Instead of ice, I saw, ketchup.
Disbelieving, I looked up to see you looking my way just as dumbfounded. As if you, in your wildest imagination, could not believe that you had dropped the ketchup, let alone that it landed all over me.
You were obviously embarrassed.
You fumbled. Desperately seeking to right a wrong that somehow strangely couldn’t be righted. You handed me all your napkins and there were many. You went to get water for me to use to wipe the red stuff off my attire. You were worried that you had damaged my fine attire. Never mind that I was wearing a discount skirt purchased from Ross Dress-For-Less and my bike shoes. Okay, the bike shoes were somewhat expensive, but you wiped them clean.
I, in return, was so shocked that I did not, I’m afraid, respond well at all.
You see, when I felt the cold liquid on my body and through my clothing, I was really certain, the girls were playing games. They’d been a bit silly all day and after a meal laden with carbs and chased by sugar in the form of soft serve ice cream cones, I was certain, they’d grabbed ice from the ice machine and were tossing it at me…for pranks.
My shock, Mr. Ketchup Guy, was not because I had ketchup on me, as much as it was because I did not have water or ice on me. I was stunned…but not for the reasons you supposed.
You hurriedly helped me clean up, then disappeared to your table on the other side of the dining hall. I walked by you on my way out, in shame, you didn’t even look up or glance my way.
Mr. Ketchup Guy, I owe you an apology.
You did not deserve my response today. Never mind that my response was not what you thought. I was not angry with you. I was not, though I’m certain I came off that way. You did not deserve to leave that place thinking you had offended me or angered me or upset me. You did not deserve to experience embarrassment.
I was just so completely stunned that my kids were not throwing ice at me, that it took me a bit to realize what was going on. You handled everything so smoothly and so well and so quickly, I didn’t have the time to tell you. Then, as I left the place, suspecting you still harbored some embarrassment about the entire episode, I failed to approach you and to thank you for the napkins and the water.
But it really wasn’t the napkins and the water that I’d have thanked you for.
It would have been for the courtesy, the chilvary, the emotion in the person that felt that spilling ketchup on a lady in a fast food restaurant was worth being addressed rather than ignored; that the incident was worthy of some embarrassment on your part.
Many would have acted like the incident never happened.
Thank you for not being one of the many.
Please accept my apologies for not letting you know how grateful I was for your response and for relieving any embarrassment you might have experienced as the result. I was amiss to not assure you that I was fine and the clothing washable, yes, even the expensive bike shoes.
It was clear to me that you are a gentleman, while I did not behave like much of a lady.
Thank you for being part of an endangered species rarely seen these days. I regret to think that I might have taken steps to hurry your kind closer to extinction.
Please forgive me.