Saturday, September 30, 2017

Happiness Restaurant

Even if it's only temporary there is a restaurant that makes all the patrons happy. One may order a hamburger and get ravioli, order noodles and get pork cutlet. It's a strange restaurant, a university professor in a diocesan bulletin introduces the readers to a restaurant known in Japan, absurd as it sounds: 'meal order mistakes in abundance'  restaurant. Consequently when ordering it is wise to not expect to get what you ordered. 

The reason is that waiting on the tables are  6 grandmothers who work part-time in the restaurant. All 6 have different degrees of Alzheimer's disease to contend with. When they take the orders, an everyday occurrence is not remembering the order and returning with something the patron did not order.

However, there are no patrons who are angry at the mistakes that are made. Like a child, the patrons  have a good laugh and try to explain to the grandmothers what the mistake was and in the process, enjoy communicating with the grandmothers.

Patrons wait to see what kind of meal will come from the kitchen and the grandmothers rather than afraid of the mistakes made are given the courage to continue in their work.

The restaurateur began the work wanting to change the thinking and the prejudice towards those with dementia. His efforts have done much to attain his goal.

Without any provocation, often over some small mistake, we have many who are not able to accept the inconveniences that result. We are exposed to a warlike atmosphere over trifles, we have persons going for the collars of another to assuage their so-called grievance. The professor would like to see more of these 'meal order mistakes in abundance' restaurants appear in many of our towns and villagers.

He concludes the article with a wish that many of our weak and marginalized citizens would find a place in these type of restaurants were all could spend time together in a joyous atmosphere of acceptance.

Exclusion is the strongest where contact is the least:  an easy way to understand some of the problems we have in society. We have social exclusion often of migrant workers, persons with disabilities, some racial exclusion and many other ways we fail to go out to the alienated in our society. How to multiple contacts and communication with the marginalized is a goal of a healthy society.