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All’s Well That Ends With Good Fried Rice

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2022

During lunch at work, I lament to a coworker that I can’t find certain good restaurants around town, namely my disappointment that I can’t get good fried rice no matter where I go. Two days later, I get pulled into a meeting with Human Resources.

HR Lady: “Hello, [My Name]. Do you know why you’re here today?”

Me: “No?”

HR Lady: “Several days ago, someone overheard you being derogatory toward Asian-Americans, and we want to make you aware that we have a zero-tolerance policy for racism in the workplace.”

Me: *Panicking, confused* “Wait, what? Where? When?”

HR Lady: “The incident in question took place on [date] during your lunch break, when someone overheard you say, ‘There’s no decent Chinese around here—’”

The penny drops.

Me: “FOOD! Chinese FOOD! I was talking to [Coworker] about how I can’t find good fried rice for the life of me!”

She stares at me blankly before the context dawns on her.

HR Lady: “Ah.”

Me: “Yeah, I was talking about how I couldn’t find any good Mexican or Chinese restaurants. Ask [Coworker] if you want; he’ll vouch for me.”

HR Lady: “No, no, I don’t think that will be necessary. Given your good performance and behavior besides this incident, I think we can write this off as a misunderstanding.”

Me: *Exhaling* “Thank you.” *Gets up to leave*

HR Lady: “But on that note… have you tried [Restaurant]?”

I run through my mental list of disappointing takeout dinners.

Me: “N-no?”

HR Lady: “Try them. Best Chinese food you’ll find in town.”

I was relieved that the situation was resolved reasonably and that she was willing to listen and understand the context, as opposed to other interactions I’d had in the past with bosses who were determined to demonize their targets no matter what. Bonus? The Chinese food was excellent.

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