[After I wrote this, I realized that it makes me look like a super-cool guy and Chad Murphy look like some unenlightened dickhead. I definitely don't claim either perception to be accurate. I never said I was a good server or a good writer so I'm going to go ahead & serve this up anyway. Enjoy!]
This really happened.
If you've ever worked in any restaurants for more than 15 minutes, you've met some people that you'll remember the rest of your life. I've got lots of them; for instance my fellow honkie, Chad Murphy.
We worked at an independently owned restaurant. Chad was the day bartender, Monday through Friday. He was a hardcore alcoholic, he was on work release due to a lot of spectacular DWI's, he was very proud of his Irish heritage and he liked to refer to himself in the 3rd person. And oh yeah, he was really racist.
He didn't hate black people in general, he was cool with our black coworkers and loved his black sports heroes. I never discussed politics with him so I don't know his, but if his voting rights have been restored, he very well may have voted for Barack Obama. He just hated black customers.
He had a pet name for these individuals, chakas or shakas or something like that. Someone finally explained to me that this name came from a TV series about a savage tribe in Africa that dined out a lot, or something.
"Sorry pally. The old Murpho had to put the shakas in your station!", said Chad to me one afternoon. It was a 3top of well-dressed, middle-aged African-Americans, two women and a man. For some reason that day I replaced the typical careless, indifferent service I usually provide with my seldom-used A game.
These customers loved me. They had a good meal and a good time and tipped me handsomely. They asked to speak to the manager. The manager was probably cooping in the office and anyway I knew what was coming. So I asked Chad to play manager and see what was up. I took a hike and looked on surreptitiously. I could see everyone smiling and conversing pleasantly.
After the trio left, I asked Chad what their problem was. "No problems, Pally," Chad told me, "those shakas loved you! The old Murpho never gets shakas like that! You're lucky!"
Yeah I am.