There’s this man at work I’ve been wanting to write a blog about for quite some time. He works in the cafeteria, serving the main dish everyday for lunch. Most of the nurses, or any of the female workers in the hospital for that matter, refer to him as “Scary man.” They refuse to go to the line he serves from and will go without eating even if he’s serving the best dish of the day. Now this man, whom I’m sad to say I don’t even know his name, is an older gentleman, maybe pushing 60. His face is obviously ahead of his time, with a wind-blown appearance and pock markings on his face. His nose is rather large, and most, particularly females, are repulsed by him. I’ve observed that it’s not only his appearance that scares them, but also the way he addresses them as “Hey, darlin’,” or “What can I get for you, sweetie?” or “Hey, how you doin today?” – as if he’s known them for a lifetime.
At first, and I’m ashamed to admit it, I myself was also a little put-off by this, wondering if this old creepy man was hitting on me or not. But then one day, instead of choosing to bypass his line of what looked to be a delicious tofu stir-fry, I decided to go ahead and get it and risk an uncomfortable pass from him. As I was the only one in his line, I didn’t have much choice not to respond to his usual, “Hey sugar, how’s your day goin?” So I proceeded to tell him it was going fine, but that I was ready for the weekend since my sister was graduating. His eyes lit up when I told him this, as it paved the way for him to tell me that HIS daughter was also going to be graduating, with a Respiratory Therapy degree. He went on to tell me that he was very proud of her, and how much he looked forward to watching her achieve this goal. My heart felt a mixture of feelings after I left his line. Guilt mostly, that I’d even followed everyone’s assumptions of him in the first place. He’s just an older lonely man that gleans joy from talking to the people in his lines. I came to the conclusion that he’s not hitting on them, but merely striking conversations to perhaps make his day less monotonous. Though it made me sad and a little mad at myself for skipping his lines in the past, I am no longer going to do so and will stand up for him in the future on the floor when he comes up in conversations as “Scary man.”