My first post, but hopefully not the last.
**Background story:** This happened nearly a decade ago. I was working at a startup ecommerce venture. We were a small team and it was my job to put in the processes and train the staff. Every month I would work on one department and document the IT, reporting and other processes they need to follow, train them and identify the person who could lead the team.
It was my practice to invite the most promising employees and take them out for either drinks or a meal and get to know them better before coming to a decision. There were several restaurants and bars near our office, one of which I never patronized as it was too upscale.
One day I noticed that one of the girls I was keen to promote as a team lead for the customer support team was about to have a meltdown at work. I quickly pulled her off the floor immediately and took her to this upscale place – both to let her feel that she was valued as well as get a bit of privacy so I could understand all her issues.
**The incident:** We had what could be called a “high tea” and were ready to leave when one of the servers requested if we could wait for a few minutes before they bring the bill to us. I had a meeting with one of the directors, so I left my company card with this girl asked her to settle the bill and rejoin her team after clearing the bill.
My meeting went on for half an hour and when I went to get my card back the girl had not returned to work. I feared that she might’ve tried to run away with the card or something so I quickly rushed to the restaurant, only to find her still waiting for the mysterious bill. I lost my cool and threatened the manager that they could not keep a patron waiting and I was going to call the cops on them for not letting the girl leave while not presenting the bill at the same time.
Till this time the staff was trying to avoid presenting the bill. Now they admitted, the software that they ran had been upgraded that day and none of them could make it work. They were waiting for someone from the IT team to come and update them. In the meantime they didn’t think of putting the closed sign because no customers came in at that time of the day.
It was amusing to say the least and I didn’t want the poor staff to pay out of their pockets for our meal. I don’t know what came over me and I asked them to show me the system. I was used to setting up systems and in short order figured out where they were messing up and took the notepad the servers use to take orders and wrote step by step instructions for them and printed the bill for my own meal, then I taught them to link the card machine to their system, printed my own bill and swiped my card.
By this time the news that I was setting up the billing system for the restaurant had spread like wildfire in our office, as I had asked my colleague to go back to her station and she couldn’t keep this juicy tale to herself.
**The fallout:** When I was done, I saw the director of my company waiting for me. He was negotiating with the restaurant chain for hiring out my services to them. I was only thankful no one got fired in this whole fiasco.