I want to tell you an unpopular story. This story is only unpopular because the people involved do not agree on what exactly took place and for that reason I am only going to share my experience and viewpoint.
My family and I, 11 people in total, were in France visiting the Louvre Museum the week after Easter Sunday. This is important to note because everything was extra packed and closed a bit earlier because of the holiday weekend. Half the group had gone to the top of the Eiffel tower that morning and the other half toured the Palace of Versaille. When we met late in the afternoon, we were all a bit tired and plenty hungry. The museum has a few limited choices to eat but eventually we settled on waiting in line for a cafe so we could sit and eat before touring the museum.
There was already a line and the cafe itself was not particularly large but we waited none-the-less. We did mention to the hostess that, in order to seat us quicker, we did not mind splitting up the party. Which she obliged. About a little over half an hour later we began being seated. First a party of 4, then a party of 2, and eventually the last 5 remaining people were seating at a booth by the door. Being that we (the party of 4) sat first and had an especially attentive waitress we had our drinks out pretty quickly but hadn’t ordered anything yet. The french move slower than we do in the US so what would be a 30-40 min meal in the US is can easily be a 2 hour luxury in France. We were on vacation though so what’s the rush , right?
The table of five on the other hand began to grow upset after about 10-15 minutes of not having received their menus and being for the most part ignored. Keep in mind we had been standing in line for awhile so everyone pretty much knew what they wanted to eat. Their server finally began to take their orders but the adults were annoyed and a bit rude at this point. The hostess then goes over to their table and explains as best she could (she spoke very little English and none of them spoke French) that they needed to move the table of five to the other side of the restaurant as their table was reserved and they were sat there incorrectly. The table of three adults and two teenagers then became a bit upset. The adults began to raise their voice asking why they couldn’t just stay where they were and why out of all the tables in the cafe were they the ones being asked to move? When a manager, who spoke even less English, came over to try and smooth things over they loudly began to get out of the booth.
They were shown to another table towards the back of the cafe where the adults in the group immediately caused a scene. They asked to be moved to one of the large booths along the walls that were open but they were told that those too were reserved. This, according to them, was racist treatment! They were being forced into a smaller table, a four seater instead of 5, by the kitchens because they were people of color. And because they were so hungry and upset they didn’t believe they could wait any longer for their food. The three adults continued to storm around the cafe going up to the tables of their other group mates and continuing to repeat that the cafe is racist. That they were being unfairly treated. Eventually, after much noise the three adults left the cafe telling their group they were going to find food elsewhere.
The rest of us did not leave the cafe. My father asking the waitress if my sisters could join us instead (literally saying “please bring my daughters to me”) but the girls insisted they were fine where they were and there was no need to move again. The cafe offered my sisters free drinks for the mix up and free dessert. They’re not old enough to drink but enjoyed the desserts happily. We later understood that a group tour was arriving just as we were leaving and had reserved all the booths in the restaurant. When we left the cafe, after a wonderful meal, the three adults were outside waiting. Claiming they had already gone through all the exhibits and were heading back to the hotel. Also exclaiming how racist it is that the Egyptian exhibit was on a lower floor.
My sisters are the shining light in this story in my opinion. In the face of mass outrage and confusion they held their heads. Calmly did not argue with the cafe employees or their adult companions. Stayed behind when the adults at their table walked out. Politely apologize for the scene and enjoyed a classic French meal in one of the most famous museum’s the world. God took out the distractions, the pessimism, and the hate from their afternoon and replaced it with free creme brulee.
The Bible advises us to act on indifference and to power through injustices but before we can act we must wait, observe and plan. The opinions of that afternoon vary according to who you speak with but the overall tone was that those few moments of that day were unpleasant for all. I wonder what would have happened if the group would have stayed calm and observe the situation first before reacting. They too may have had an incredible meal and free wine. Maybe they were right and they were being treated unfairly. But their actions solved nothing. When they left everyone went about their business as normal. Maybe there was a solution to this had they been patient enough to find one.
So in closing I advise you that the next time you are faced with a situation that makes you want to throw your hands in the air or slam your head against the wall. Wait patiently for the Lord. You will be gifted with insight and understanding. And maybe, like my sisters, just maybe even some free creme brulee.