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Just eat the pancakes - Greg Gelpi

People are naturally lazy, so it bothers me when I watch as people go out of their way to bring others down.

"Would that be possible?" this lady snarled condescendingly at a waiter, who more than likely made minimum wage.

The scene was a typical family-style all-day breakfast place, one in which customers were packed in tightly.

The waiter's English certainly needed work and his accent didn't help, but metro Atlanta is a thriving metropolis of many nations and many peoples. His manner of speech, however, didn't sit well with the woman who sat at the table next to mine. From her accent, she was a native of this country, although her English wasn't much better than that of the waiter.

Treating the waiter more as a servant and expecting the minimum wage employee to serve her like royalty, she bellowed orders about precisely how to prepare her $5 breakfast.

"Would that be possible?" she asked as he jotted down her demands.

To further belittle the guy who was simply trying to do his job and earn a modest wage, she asked if she needed to convey her request to another employee, one who was a native of this country.

Watching him as he bussed the table only a foot away, she commented to her friend loud enough for me to hear and surely loud enough for him to hear as well that the employees at the restaurant needed "training."

Dogs and animals need "training," but perhaps that's how this woman viewed the waiter as nothing more than an animal, her subservient and her inferior.

Her pure disdain for her fellow man even made my chocolate chip pancakes lose their taste.

Even if she was a finicky eater and picky about the preparation of her breakfast, she didn't need to exert the energy, put forth the effort to demean the man.

I'm no mind reader, but I doubt that the man came to this country in hopes of a better life of being ridiculed and mocked as he labored to earn a few bucks.

The quick exchange between the customer and the employee threw me off and caused me to eavesdrop on the woman's conversation.

What would drive someone to act like that, and what kind of person would act on those impulses?

I listened as she told of her husband, who she admitted hates eating out with her, and taking remedial math classes at an Atlanta college.

You would think that would be a subtle hint. The person who loved her enough to vow to spend the rest of his life with her can't even stand a few minutes in public with her.

It's aggravating when customers robotically and callously interact with workers in restaurants and other arenas without emotion, without a compliment or a criticism, but I can understand and even tolerate that.

Perhaps these individuals recognize and accept that they are cold, insensitive and lacking in the personal skills department. I can accept that.

I cannot accept, however, people who don't take hints, have no sense of common decency and have no qualms with crushing others with their inflated sense of self-worth.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.