Sunday, November 25, 2012

Not Zen 33: Finding Trouble

The owner of a small restaurant promoted a young waiter to be her assistant manager. The more senior staff were angered. The young man's parents were at first overjoyed but soon became anxious.

Day after day, the assistant manager worked in the worst circumstances. The owner had him calm down the drunks who were cut off at the bar. She had the young man resolve arguments among the staff, many of whom were jealous of the man's position. The staff called on him to deal with customers who were upset with the quality of their food or their service.

The young man was not upset with these chores but his parents grew agitated.

"They're taking advantage of you," said his mother one night.

"Every job does that," replied the son.

"But you get all the hard cases."

"Don't worry, mom. It's my job to sort out the troubles so that's what I'll do."

The parents knew that their boy loved peace and harmony. They worried that the staff were out to cause him difficulties. Sometimes it seemed as if the owner disliked the young man because she put him into the most awkward situations. But the young man said no, he was pretty sure his boss liked him. Why else would she have promoted him?

Finally, at a holiday party for the restaurant staff, the mother confronted the restaurant owner and asked her why she kept giving her son the worst assignments.

"He's really a caring, gentle young man," the mother explained. "He meditates by himself in his room. He's practically a hippie. Don't you understand that he wants to wants to live a peaceful life?"

"We all want that, ma'am," said the owner. "But your son achieves it."

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