Featured Column
Week of 10.24.2005
Things you'll never hear or see!
         Scene One: It was a nice restaurant. Not fancy, but nice. We had heard from friends that the food was outstanding. It was a Friday night and we were looking forward to a pleasant evening out. We were shown to our table and given oversized menus and an adequate wine list. The wine came and we ordered our dinners. The salads were of limp lettuce. The steaks were over cooked and dry. Even the small mound of vegetables was disappointingly bland. To avoid further frustration we decided to pass on desserts. I asked for the check in the usual manner of waving my right hand and feigning a scribbling. The amount of the bill was sizeable, especially considering the quality and condition of the food served. When the waiter returned to collect payment I politely mentioned that the dinner was mediocre and our evening was a disappointment. Without any hesitation our waiter said, “We’re so sorry about your experience. Naturally, there’ll be no charge for your evening, nor will we accept any kind of gratuity, and we hope you’ll return to our restaurant and enjoy an evening with us at no expense to you.”

          Scene Two: My sinuses were stuffed and it was painful to even blink my eyes. All I wanted to do was sleep. I had suffered through two days of this discomfort so I called the 800 number of my HMO and made an appointment with a doctor. Two days later I was in the doctor’s office where she confirmed that my sinuses were stuffed. I was given a prescription to alleviate my discomfort. Resting at home the next day, feeling somewhat better, I heard the phone ring. “Hello, Mr. Cruger, this is Doctor Bradford, the doctor you saw Wednesday. I’ve been thinking about you and I wanted to make sure that the pills I prescribed for you are working at that you’re feeling better. I didn’t sleep well last night, thinking about how badly you felt and I couldn’t wait to phone you and make sure you’re improving. If it’s okay I’ll check with you the next few days to check on your progress. That okay with you? And, by the way, if you’re not busy on Friday maybe you could come down to the clinic and we could talk for an hour or so. I’ve got the time.”

          Scene Three: The plane carried 126 passengers. We had landed and were taxiing towards our terminal in San Jose when the captain came on the intercom saying, “Thank you for flying with us. I’m very sorry for being 40-minutes late to San Jose and I also want to apologize for the mediocre service we’ve given you. The peanuts weren’t up to our usual quality and our drink service was late. I’m especially sorry for the rough landing you felt a few moments ago. I’m terribly sorry for that. Because of these incidents you won’t have to pay for this flight. You’ll receive a refund in the mail.”

          Scene Four: I heard the front door bell ring. I checked through the peep hole before opening the door. It was a large man, dressed in stained jeans and a worn T-shirt. I took a chance and opened the door. The man, sporting a 3-day beard, looked straight at me and said, “Hi. Listen. I’m your trash man. I come here every Tuesday morning. I just had to tell you how sorry I am for the way I’ve damaged your trash cans. I know they’re all banged up and torn and that’s my fault. I just haven’t been careful enough. Next week I’ll bring you a brand new trash can to make up for my carelessness. Please accept my apologies.”

          Scene Five: It seems like a new thing that the dentists do now. They sit you in that chair and then crank it down so you’re lying flat on your back and very vulnerable. They adjust the blinding lamp a foot from your eyes. Then they put on their little mask and then cover their face with a plastic face guard. I lay there, my mouth wide open, staring at the hygienist’s chin. I get the semi-annual cleaning and inspection. The hygienist notifies the dentist that it appears that I have a small cavity in tooth number 17. The dentist opts to repair my small dental concavity and does so in a few minutes, to my discomfort. Upon completion of the repair I’m told to “please rinse.” The chair is cranked upwards, my bib is removed, the hygienist removes her mask and face plate and says, “We’re so sorry that we took so long and I could tell that you had some discomfort when we filled number 17. We’re not going to charge you for today’s visit. We weren’t being very sensitive with you. We hope you’ll forgive us. Here’s some free toothpaste and floss. We hope to see you again in 6-months.”

          Scene Six: The engine was idling rough. Mileage was poor and the front end shimmied when I drove past fifty. The mechanic said, “Leave your keys in the car. We should have it done tomorrow noon.” I got a ride home and the next day got another ride to the mechanic’s place to get my car. Besides a minor cardiac arrest when I saw the cost for these repairs I was glad to have my car back. The test drive home proved to me that the repairs had been done and done correctly. The next day I got a phone call from my mechanic. “Say, Ron, I’ve been thinking about your car. Tuning your engine wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be and we only had to balance one of your tires – so, I’m going to refund half of your bill. I’ll check with you in a few days just to make sure that your car is running well. Let me know if you have any problems. And, oh, yes. Have a good day.”

          If only it were so…
Dreams of people being polite
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger