No! You!

All this talk about immigration in the news, is of course, a topic of conversation in the restaurants. I’ve only worked in a few that didn’t have illegals employed. It’s pretty much a house divided when it comes to opinions concerning this matter. I’ll reserve my thoughts on it for another post. I just wanted tell a little story that I was recently reminded of regarding the language barriers that must be hurdled daily:

A couple of years ago I was working at a restaurant that employed, as a dishwasher, a young man recently arrived from Guatemala. His english was limited to: “HEY!”, “me money?”, “hungry now!”, and every cuss word ever imagined. It seems Roanoke, Virginia has a larger Guatemalan population than that country’s capital city… and they all reside at the same apartment complex…. in the same apartment, I think. Anyhoo, our also hispanic produce guy had just showed up with our delivery for the day, saw the dish guy, and said “I know you. You live CINNAMON RIDGE.”. The dish guy, misunderstanding him, responded by throwing a plate to the floor, his fists in the air and shouting ” NO! You a SON OF A BITCH!”. We had to separate the two.

At this particular restaurant, I was the only person whose native tongue was English. Five different languages were spoken; Thai, Lao, Mongolian, Spanish, and English. Only the Mongolian ladies had any command of English. It got downright funny at times.

english-many-languages-tree-image (image:many roots,many voices)

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