The other day I was talking to my friend Joy. She told me a story about her parents which she allowed me to share here. Let me begin by giving you a little background on Joy’s parents. They came to Canada in the early 80’s. It was their first time going through the process of selling their home. Because they were having viewings of their home that evening they decided to get take out, to be clear they never get take out.

Joy’s parents went to a restaurant that was known for how good their chicken was and ordered chicken. Easy and simple…right? Well, after ordering, the lady behind the counter said: “what side would you like with that?” Her parents looked at each other and then at the menu board. Too panicked by the question to fully read the board, mom replied “pardon?” to which the lady said after clearing her throat, “and, what side would you like?”


Joy’s mom then said, “it’s fine, the chicken can be on the left side or the right…it doesn’t matter!” The lady glanced past them both at the line getting longer and said again, “What side would you like WITH this order? Now, Joy’s parents wondered why they were being asked the same question again. Rattled, they began speaking to each other rapidly in their language, which they rarely did in public. The lady behind the counter was getting angry now. Probably thinking, “Oh boy…now they don’t speak English.” Joy’s parents were so utterly confused, what did the lady mean by “what side.” On top of that everyone in the line was now breathing down their necks. Her mom said, “sorry, I don’t understand what you mean.” The lady behind the counter repeated louder than before, “WHAT SIDE WOULD YOU LIKE WITH THAT ORDER?!”

bullhorn-2026013__340In case you are wondering why the lady was yelling at this point, it was because when people don’t understand you it’s usually because they cannot hear you…Right?

As she repeated the question for all to hear, now everyone was getting annoyed, some of the people waiting to place their orders were walking out. Her parents were still standing at the front of the line trying to figure out what was meant by “SIDE.” Joy’s mom now frustrated and embarrassed said, “I don’t understand why it matters. Please, any side is good!” The lady behind the counter got so cheesed, she mumbled something and stormed off to the back of the restaurant. She quickly came back with someone who looked like Joy’s parents.


The young man eyed Joy’s parents and said; “Would you like potatoes, rice or fries to go with your chicken?” They looked at each other finally understanding what the lady had meant by “SIDES” and completed their order.


The moral of the story is that a little patience and empathy would have gone a long way in this situation. Joy’s parents still laugh at this mishap. Try not to let a day go by without laughing at yourself. Hilarity is everywhere but, sometimes you have to be willing to find it!

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11 thoughts on “Sides

  1. I’ve heard that the left side tastes a little better…classic case of you’re not understanding me so I’ll speak louder..great story!

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