I Am Never Eating In A Restaurant Again

A few years ago I was eating in one my favorite Mexican restaurant. I was sitting there minding my own business when the waitress came by carrying a huge margarita for another table. She dropped off a glass of water for me and when she leaned over to set the water down she spilled the entire margarita on the front of my shirt. I was soaked. It was sticky and cold. What was to follow only added insult to injury.

I ran home to change my shirt because there was no way I could enjoy a meal soaking wet. When I returned I discovered that no one had come to the table to apologize. Not a single person said they were sorry.

The manager made no attempt to come to the table to make amends for what happened. Clearly they had done something to hurt me but no one came to apologize.

When we finished the meal the check came and there was no adjustment made in the price of our meals. Bear in mind I had to leave and go home and return in order to enjoy the meal yet nothing was done to make amends.

When I went to the cash register to pay for the meal I commented on the fact that I was going to have to have my shirt dry cleaned. It was a non-washable shirt. I asked to see the manager. The lady said the manager was busy and couldn't come. I said I would wait. She told me the manager was too busy to talk to me.

When I got home I went online to the website of the restaurant and wrote a long complaint about the entire situation. Days went by, then weeks and no response. I wrote a second message and again received no response. I was hurt by the restaurant. Let me make it very clear that I had the right to feel hurt. So I decided to give up on restaurants because I was hurt by a restaurant. From that date till this I have refused to eat in restaurants because of that bad experience.

Now, everything in my story is true except the last part. I know that the last part of the story probably sounds ridiculous to any sensible person. How could I refuse to eat in any restaurant because one restaurant gave me a bad experience?

I guess for the same reason people excuse themselves for not going to any church because they got hurt in one church.

Let me take it a step further. I have had bad experiences in other restaurants. My multiple bad experiences in restaurants have not made me determine that all restaurants are bad. Yet that is the logic that some Catholics use regarding the church.

They have demonized all churches because they have had a bad experience.

The truth is, if you have never had a bad experience in a restaurant you have probably not eaten in very many restaurants. Likewise if you have not had a bad experience in a church you probably have not attended many churches. I am a little tired of hearing someone condemn churches because they had a bad experience in one church.

Let me take this a step further.

That restaurant continued having great success and doing good business. How could all those people be so stupid?

The reason is because not all of them had a bad experience with that restaurant. That bad experience was exclusive to me and perhaps a few other people at sometime. It is one of the most successful Mexican restaurants in that area. There is a reason for that. My bad experience did not speak to everyone’s experience, just mine

I did not start a blog to try to hurt that restaurant. I did not make that restaurant my cause. I did not try to stop everyone else from going there. I did not get a sign and stand outside trying to stop people from going there to eat. I did not behave like some Catholics behave when they have a bad experience in a church.

Eventually I did something I didn't expect I would ever do.

A few months later I returned to that restaurant to eat. Guess what. I had a good experience. I remembered the reason why we liked that restaurant so much. My bad experience was just that. It was a bad experience. I had condemned the restaurant for one bad experience. The time I returned the service was great. They went out of the way to take care of us. When everything was finished I had forgotten why I had not gone to the restaurant and remembered why I had enjoyed it so much before. I almost ruined many future good experiences for one bad past experience.

That is what far too many Catholics do with churches. They turn a bad experience into a reason to condemn and become better. I did not like having that giant margarita spilled on my shirt. I did not like the way I was treated in that situation. The truth is, they were having a bad day or perhaps just a busy one and I was the victim of carelessness.

We must stop condemning churches because of a bad experience.

As silly as the story I told might seem, the story people tell about bad experiences with churches are also silly and usually quite petty. Christ is not pleased with us when we behave that way. Give people some room to make mistakes. Stop being so sensitive. Love God's law more than you love yourself and you will stop being offended. Perhaps the most important advice is this; Grow up and act like a mature Christian.

vatican in exile