This is a part of the Yoshke is Evil series, in which I will narrate incidents wherein I question my goodness or feel like I could have done things differently. This incident happened two years ago and I still can’t get this out of my head.
Midnight. I had been studying for hours with a friend at Gloria Jean’s Café in Tomas Morato when I felt hungry so we decided to move to a Chinese fast food restaurant across the street for a few minutes. I was smilingly greeted by a female cashier who was ready to take my order. There was something weird about her smile, I could tell. It was like she was tired or unhappy.
Yoshke: Pork Chao Fan with pork siomai, pork tofu, and large pineapple juice. Dine in.
Cashier: OK sir, that’s pork chao fan with pork siomai, pork tofu, and pineapple juice large for dine in.
Cashier: Sir, just to confirm, it’s pork siomai, right?
Yoshke: Yes, pork. Right.
So she started pressing away and then she fetched my order. I looked at my siomai and found them darker than usual.
Yoshke: Miss, I think this is beef siomai. I wanted my siomai pork.
Cashier: Oh, sorry sir. Yeah, you said pork siomai, sorry.
And then she just stood there for several seconds, perhaps thinking of what to do next. She then turned to me and asked:
Cashier: Sir, wouldn’t you like beef siomai, instead? I already punched it by mistake…
Yoshke: No, I want pork siomai.
Cashier: Sir, please. They taste exactly the same, anyway.
Yoshke: Miss, I don’t eat beef siomai. I don’t eat beef at all. I wish I did so you wouldn’t need to have my order voided but I really don’t eat beef. Since childhood.
Cashier: Sir, perhaps your friend is going to order beef siomai.
So I asked my friend. She had no interest in my beef siomai because she was on a vegetarian diet that night and she would just order black gulaman.
Cashier: Sir, maybe you could just add a pork siomai to your order?
Yoshke: And what would I do to my beef siomai? Throw them away?
Cashier: Sir, please. They taste exactly the same…
I was completely irritated but I was in good mood that night so I just pushed for my real pork order. But I could tell she was genuinely afraid. I felt sorry for her. I could see fear in her eyes. It could be his nth time she would call to her manager to void an order, and perhaps she had been warned for the nth time, too. Her eyes were pleading. It was like as if her life depended on my order. I even imagined a story that perhaps she would lose her job and she couldn’t afford to because her mother was sick and she needed medicine or whatever. There was something in her eyes that was really, really urging me to just give in. It was really uncomfortable. But I was hungry and I wanted my pork siomai.
She then let go of a long sigh and called her manager to have the order voided. The manager gave her a sharp look and the counter girl apologized to the manager countless times in the brief moment they were fixing my order. I swear she was even teary-eyed. The manager left but she was still looking at her in a very disappointed manner. The cashier faced me and said, “Sir, sorry po ha.”
I apologized, too. “Miss, I wish I eat beef but I just don’t.”
I turned around and found a table, sat and just looked at her. I don’t know but I knew, I was sure I did a terrible thing to her. I just felt incredibly guilty. I just wanted my siomai pork, not beef.
It’s been almost two years since that incident and I’m still wondering what happened to that cashier girl. I wonder if she lost her job. And if she did, did her life depend on it? I eat beef siomai now. I had to learn it for my career. I wished I learned earlier.