(Note: Long post ahead, details are necessary… there is obsessiveness involved, after all.)
On Sunday, Tony and I decided to visit PF Chang’s to use the gift card I won a couple weeks ago. My delicacy of choice was their kung pao chicken. Nobody makes kung pao chicken like PF Chang’s. Tony ordered their sweet & sour pork dish. We were both exceedingly happy with our choices and all was right with the world.
Immediately upon receipt of my food, I removed the red peppers and mixed in the brown rice, and divided the dish in half. A bit like surgery, only at the dinner table. I ate half of it and requested a box for the other half. Our server carried out a little stand, took our leftovers and boxed them right there at the table. When we departed, we took our leftovers and went to the movies.
Monday night, things disintegrated a bit. I didn’t have the best of days at work, so I was a little stressed when I got home. A salad and kung pao chicken sounded just about right to me to make things a little better in my world.
Tony grabbed the bag of leftovers out of the fridge and, by weight, determined that his sweet & sour pork was in the lighter box. While I created our salads, complete with avocados and onions, he went about devouring his leftovers with gusto.
A bit later, when I opened my box of leftovers, I was puzzled to see white rice. I asked Tony if there had been another box in the bag. The answer to that was “no.” There were only those two boxes. The one he had emptied and the one I was staring at.
I may have, at that point, thrown a fit of frustration. The fit of frustration may have involved throwing the avocado seed that was left on the counter from when I created the salad. I may have thrown that seed at the trash can with a little more force than necessary to discard it. That seed may have narrowly missed my husband who had opened the trash can to gently discard something. To top it off, the seed may have ricocheted off the trash can (because of the speed at which it was thrown in my alleged fit of frustration) and bounced merrily across the floor. Bounce, bounce, bounce, it went, mocking my kung pao chicken loss.
I don’t think I’ve ever hated an avocado seed more.
I considered just letting it go… the kung pao chicken, I mean, not the avocado seed. That avocado seed was dead to me. Dead! The rational part of my brain (I know, I’m as surprised as you are that there was a rational part left) noted that it was just leftovers and it was a genuine mistake by our server. It’s not like he intentionally decided to add a sucky ending to my sucky day. So, it should have been no big deal. Except I really, really wanted those leftovers. I had been looking forward to them all day.
Tony suggested I call the restaurant, and for a moment I thought that was a good idea. Except, after that moment, I then realized that calling them would accomplish nothing except to let them know that some crazy woman in Orange County was without her leftovers.
And that’s how it came to be that at 8:55 PM on Monday night, I told Tony that I’d be back in an hour, or maybe longer. Because I wasn’t leaving that place without my kung pao chicken.
The drive there was 15 minutes and I needed every second of that, and the time it took to walk from the parking structure to the restaurant, to make myself into a presentable, rational looking person. Because I figured “reasonable” was an adjective that I was giving up in my pursuit of leftover kung pao chicken.
The manager listened attentively to my brief explanation, which was evidenced by the fact that he was completing my sentences. The end of the conversation went something like this, “Man, I’ve had a crappy day and the only thing I wanted for dinner was…” He grinned and said, “Kung pao chicken.” “Yeah…” I said. “Thing is, the disappointment was like… well, expecting kung pao chicken and ending up with white rice.” “Which wasn’t even part of your order.” He noted. “Yeah, I’d ordered brown rice.” I said.
He kindly offered to give me an order of kung pao chicken with brown rice, complimentary. Which was exactly what I wanted. And that’s how it happened that at 10 PM on Monday night, I was back home, removing the red peppers, mixing in the brown rice, dividing the dish in half, and then eating my freshly cooked kung pao chicken.
The thing was, I had gone armed with digital photos, receipts, ticket stubs, and even the box of white rice and I needed none of that. He took me at my word. Or maybe he was just scared of the 6′ tall crazy woman confronting him. Whatever. I’ll just say, it’s customer service such as that which I find impressive in a world where people just don’t seem to care anymore. He listened, he validated, and he resolved.
And I had more leftover kung pao chicken… and all was right with the world, once again.
Don’t you love a story with a happy ending?