Every so often crazy train rolls into work town. Usually we hear it coming, sometimes signals fail. Crazy train doesn’t discriminate, we never know who’ll climb aboard.
Yesterday crazy train rolled into an all day professional conference for doctors. Repeat client, nothing too fussy, routine conference defined by breakfast, morning break, lunch and afternoon break. Despite leaving for work at 4:15 am, I looked forward to seeing this client again. Remarkably, special dietary requests were few, only one in fact, a Dr. B who identified as Celiac. I remembered Dr. B from the last conference – requested gluten free meals, rather than eat our food, provided her own meals to re-heat. No problem Dr. B, I’ll warm up your gluten free pizza.
This morning Dr. B arrived with Tupperware boxed lunch and polite request to reheat when appropriate. A few minutes later one of my servers presented a zip-loc sandwich bag of what looked like oatmeal. Server said “I was asked to add half a cup of boiling water to this”. Why didn’t Dr. B talk to me when she gave me her lunch? Never mind. Crazy train hadn’t whistled, how were we supposed to know it was about to derail?
Does this look like a restaurant, do you see anything else in a bowl? We’re off-site caterers, never mind, we have hot water, I’ll find a bowl. There you go Dr. B – nice ceramic bowl, half a cup boiling water, personally delivered by a keen young server smiling with a sense of accomplishment – enjoy your breakfast.
Moments later server returned with furrowed brow, exclaiming – “She snapped at me, said it wasn’t instant oats and demanded a microwave” . “We don’t have a microwave, she asked us to add hot water, where is she now” flew back in rapid succession. “Looking for a microwave and extremely upset” replied server. Barely had time to mutter “give me a break” when another co-worker announced Dr. B was in the bathroom crying hysterically. It’s too early for this shit Dr. B!
Everybody relax I’ll talk to Dr. B preceded reconnaissance of the ladies room, Dr. B’s sobs could be heard in the hallway – kill me now. I opened the door, “please don’t be locked in a stall”. Oh crap! What fresh hell is this? Note to self – caution staff to report accurate information – not in my wildest imagination could her performance be defined as shedding basic bathroom tears. Unaware of my presence, Dr. B wailed “I’m all alone, no one will help me. Why won’t anyone help me?” “Help me, someone help me” What the fuck, enough! “Excuse me” accompanied the knock on crazy train’s bathroom stall. “I’d like to help but you need to come out”. “Go away, I need to compose myself”. Gladly Dr. B, take all the time you need. I left to inform client that one of her doctors was in meltdown.
” Dr. B asked for hot water, no mention of microwave. We don’t have a microwave, would have told her so from the start. How are we supposed to know what’s in her sandwich bag? She’s crying in a bathroom stall, wailing pleas for help, threatening to go home” rolled off my lips. “She does this a couple times a year” sighed client. Really? In public? went unspoken. Professional obligation fulfilled, Dr. B was crazy train’s problem not mine.
An hour later servers cleared Dr. B’s oatmeal bowl – it was licked clean. Hang in there Dr. B! Nothing like a good cry, public display of crazy and chorus of despair tinged attention seeking outbursts to work up an appetite. Heat your lunch? No problem Dr. B.