You’re Too FAT to Eat Here!

When you go into a fast food restaurant, you expect the person behind the counter to say something like "Welcome to Good Burger, Home of the Good Burger, Can I take your order?"… but that isn’t what I got.  She took my friend’s order as expected but when I stepped up in line, the cashier said these words – You shouldn’t eat here – you’re getting fat! I’m not making this up, people.

If your first thought was OMG, how rude! then you are in the same mind set I was when I heard the comment.  I couldn’t believe it.  An employee of a major fast food restaurant actually said I was TOO FAT to eat there.  I was a little embarrassed but laughed it off and ordered two double cheese burgers, a six piece order of chicken nuggets, and a large diet coke (totaling about $4).

After she filled my order, I took my tray and went to sit down with my much lighter friend and co-worker, Jason.  He was sitting in a booth {corporate groan from all fat people}.  Now if you aren’t large, you may not know that a booth is difficult because you cannot move the seat out from the table to allow for the additional required room.  At this particular establishment, some of the booths are not evenly spaced so while my lighter friend had almost 2 feet of space between him and the table, when I went to sit down my gut was laying on the table and my butt was pushing the chair back so hard, I swear I heard it cry.  Noticing my situation (likely because he was a bit more sensitive to it after hearing the comment from the cashier), Jason suggested we switch places… which I gladly excepted.

He got up, moved his tray to my side of the booth and I his, but as he sat down again to more than 2 feet of empty space between his stomach and the table, I realized this booth IS evenly spaced… As I squeeze into the both, pushing my gut under the table, the embarrassment of it all was really starting to sink in.  Even though this happened over 5 years ago, I can’t help but think about it every now and again.

The truth is, that cashier was right – I was (and still am) too fat to eat there.  If you read my Should Fat People Just Suck it Up post (worth reading again in my opinion), then you may have the impression that I want people to be more sensitive to us FAT folk; I do but not in the way you might be thinking.  I do want people to understand that many FAT people are food addicts and treat them as they would an alcoholic (you wouldn’t insist your AA friend drink a beer, don’t insist the FAT guy try your brownies).  But I don’t want people to feel like they shouldn’t hurt a FAT persons feelings by saying “Dude, are you sure about that second piece?

The truth is, I wish more people were like that cashier.  What appeared rude at first glance, was actually very thoughtful.  I went to lunch there often and she had noticed that I was gaining weight.  We weren’t friends – I do not know nor did I ever know her name – but she noticed I was gaining weight and said something about it.  My co-worker and close friend may not have noticed that I had packed on the poundage because he saw me everyday or maybe he did noticed but was to uncomfortable to say anything about it.  This woman saw me about once or twice a week; she noticed and she spoke up – like a good friend trying to grab you back from the cliffs edge – she spoke up.

The only thing worse than being ridiculed for being fat – is being invisible for it.  Fat people are intentionally not noticed because of our weight; We get passed over for promotions in our work life, We are not invited to group functions in our social life, I’ve even been past over for volunteer opportunities in my church life… Being 300lbs and pointed at may be uncomfortable – but being 300lbs and being ignored is unbearable.  She noticed me.  And she said something to help me even though it was tough for me to hear.  And five years later – despite the fact that I will most likely never run into that cashier again – I hope I’m making her proud.