I was enjoying lunch at a local establishment earlier today, in my usual spot at the end of the bar, when a father and his son sat down just a couple of bar stools away from me. The dad was wearing a suit and tie, presumably just off of work and in for a quick bite with the boy. The boy–about four-years-old–was sporting the most awesome Spiderman gloves I’ve ever seen and had a really rad-looking X-Men coloring book.
Once they were somewhat settled, the dad asked his son, “Can you tell the bartender what you’d like to drink?”
“Chocolate milk,” the boy said, unintimidated.
“How do we ask for chocolate milk?” The dad was digging in his pockets for his phone.
“May I have a chocolate milk, please?”
“You got it,” said the bartender. “Anything for you, sir?”
“Sorry?” was the man’s response, distracted by the phone.
“Something to drink?”
“Oh. Yeah. Diet Coke.” he decided, not raising his eyes from the email he’d just received.
The bartender stepped away to grab the drinks while the man and his son began to spread out their coloring book and newspaper, respectively, and began discussing food options.
“Here you go,” the barman said, setting down the chocolate milk in front of the tiny gentleman.
“What do you say?” mumbled the dad, digging out the sports section from the pile of newspapers in front of him.
“You’re welcome, buddy,” said the bartender. “Do you know what you’d like to eat?”
“Can you tell the man what you’d like?”
“May I have chicken nuggets?”
The dad glanced sideways at the boy from his paper. “What do we say?”
“Please, may I have some chicken nuggets?”
“Of course,” the bartender smiled. “Sir? Anything for you?”
“Gimme the cheese burger. Medium.”
“Did you want anything on the side with that?”
“Does it come with it?”
“No, all of the sandwiches are a la carte.”
The man rubbed his forehead as he absorbed this information. “Yeah. Just gimme the fries.”
“Okay,” said the bartender, copying down the order.
Throughout this last exchange, the little boy was looking at his father.
“What is it, sport?”
“What do you say?”
“What do you say when you want a cheeseburger?”
“Oh.” The man, clearly taken off guard, looked up from his paper and made eye contact with the bartender who had been taking their order. “Uh, please may I have a cheese burger and fries.”
“Of course,” said the bartender.
“Thank you,” said the little boy.