We were eating the rich, sweet, Indian-ish curries there and crispy Thai-style samosas when an old woman dressed in all pink entered the empty dining room. She wore a pink hat, pink pearls, pink mittens and pants and shoes and socks, and pink earrings too. This was strange, to be sure, but not especially so in Bangkok, a city where oddities aren't in short supply.
The woman, old but sprightly, spoke with warm familiarity to the staff. Then she opened her large pink purse and removed an embroidered pink mat to sit upon, two pink vessels for curries, and a knit sweater that would eventually wrap around her (red) can of Coke.
We didn't laugh, and the point of this post is not to poke fun at this woman's peculiar habits. It's about hospitality. I will tell my staff, as long as I am in the hospitality business, about the pink lady.
Because after the woman has arranged all of her things -- the many pastel colored bowls and utensils necessary for her to eat -- I saw a curry emerge from the kitchen with a tinge of pink. I thought my eyes were failing me, and it was quickly slipped into what looked like a homemade clay jar where it fit snugly, hiding the contents from our table's view.
But then the waiter placed a pink plate on the table with three blindingly pink chapati, fresh from the kitchen. They looked cartoonish their color was so vivid. She slowly tore off pink triangles of bread and dipped them in curry, pleased with her monochromatic dinner, as we watched from behind a barrier of plants.
"She's been coming once a week for as long as I've worked here" said our server, as we paid the bill.
On the way home, and later in bed, my mind kept returning to the staff and their gentle acceptance of such a strange request. In doing so, they created a loyal customer for life. And brought a bit of color to the dining room, too.