When love is missing – By Jude Idada

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Love has many synonyms and adjacent synonyms. It’s kindness. Compassion. Empathy. It’s sympathy. Affection. Care. Understanding. Respect. Freedom.

Deji Sowunmi

These things that happen.

And people just turn a blind eye.

I just saw something upsetting.

At the restaurant I am in.

Everyone in a horizontal line up placing their food orders.

And as they servers filled the orders across the show glass.

A short distance behind them.

A tall man who was evidently their supervisor was berating one of the servers.

A female.

“… if you say one word again, I will slap you here. Did they pour wax in your ear? Why are you the only person that I will keep talking to and telling you the right thing to do? Are you a goat?”

“It is not…”

“I said I will slap you here if you talk again. You born bastard…”

He kept on at her.

His voice high.

No one paying attention.

He finished off in a scornful tone.

“… A dog is better to train than you. Idiot! Get out of my front!”

She turned back and came back to the show glass.

Her eyes red and misty.

Voice shaky as she asked for the next customer to be served.

Coincidentally it was my turn

I raised my hand and she came to me.

I placed my order.

As she served it, the tears rolled down her cheeks.

I said to her in a calming tone.


Her shoulders began to shake, her chest heave , she bit her lower lips as she fought to hold back her tears.

“It is okay.”

A sound escaped her.

It was a cross of the guttural, the whine, the wail and the squel.

So short is went silent as soon as it sounded.

I left her to do her thing.

And when she was done and had placed my tray behind the others that were waiting to be billed by the cashiers.

I walked to the very far edge of the show glass and signalled to the supervisor.

He delayed for a bit as he spoke to another server before he came to me.

We were alone.

I began in a warm tone.

“Good evening.”

He responded without expression.

“Good evening, sir.”

“I am sorry for bringing this up but I want to speak to you about how you spoke to your staff some moments ago.”

A frown appeared on his face as he gazed at me silently.

I continued.

“It is wrong to speak to your staff or anyone like that. I mean you were shouting on her and using such language on another human being. It is not right.”

“Sir, if you know how many times I have spoken to her and she does not want to do as I tell her to do.”

“I understand the frustration that comes with the job, but to speak to her like that speaks more about you than about her. The heart, mind and mouth that can bring those kind of words to life is not one that is in a good place. Is everything okay with you?”

“With me?”


“I am fine.”

“Are you sure?”


“Where is the anger coming from?”

“She is frustrating me.”

“But you are her boss. The reason why you are leading is because you can bring the best out of your team to achieve a set goal and not the worst out of them. Your job is to study and understand her, find out her weaknesses and strengths, know how to motivate her through specific training, so that you can get her working at her optimal level. Shouting at her and cursing her out is not how to make her perform better. Fear will not get the best out of her since as you can see it is making her perform less rather than more.”

“It is because she is a stubborn goat!”

“Please don’t use words like that. It is work place harrassment and bad labour practice. She can take you to court and win if she can show that you speak to her like that here at work.”

“Let her try it!”

“See, you are getting angry again.”

“I am just frustrated.”


“She is…”

“It is not her.”

“It is her, sir.”

“No. Something else is frustrating you.”

He fell silent.

His eagle eyes watching me.

I reduced my tone even further.

“It is okay. Tell me. What is frustrating you?”

“Nothing sir. I am okay.”

“There is something wrong somewhere in your life. You are lashing out at her because you can’t deal with that thing that is happening in your life. What is it?”

“I said I am okay, sir.”

“If you don’t speak about it, all you will do is allow it eat deep into you and cause you to make others miserable. Soon, your anger will affect this business when all your staff find it hard to work with you. The owner or the manager who wants this business to succeed will have no choice but allow you go. You will be jobless because you couldn’t deal with something in your life that caused you to spread out your misery to others. Can you see why it is important you share it?”

He looked down at the top of the show glass.

I continued.

“I worked in Human resources for a long time. Rose to Vice President in a company. I have spoken to staff like you and I know what I am talking about when I speak about staff allowing unresolved issues in their personal lives to affect their work lives. So please, talk to me.”

He shook his head.

But remained quiet.

I could feel eyes on me.

I glanced side ways.

The servers were looking at us and whispering amongst themselves.

The one he had shouted on was amongst them.

They quickly turned away.

And continued serving the customers.

I returned my gaze to him.

“Is it okay if I call the lady you were speaking to and talk to her?”

He nodded without looking up.

I turned to the servers and beckoned to the lady.

She handed her serving to another usher and walked over.

Stopping a short distance away from him.

I smiled at her.

“Its okay, he gave me permission to talk to you. Come closer.”

She took two steps closer and stopped.

I began.

My tone friendly.

My face smiling.

“When did you start working here?”

“Nearly two months, sir.”

“What has been happening to you at home that is making you not do as he wants you do here at work?”

Her eyes opened wide.

Her arms shot up into a cross across her chest.

I could sense her fear.

I reassured her.

“It is okay. You can talk to me.”

Her eyes left mine and rested on him.

He was still looking at the top of the show glass.

There was apprehension in her mien.

I continued.


“I am just trying to help both of you, so that there will be no need of shouting anymore. I know that normally if what is happening in your private life is not happening, you will be able to do exactly what he wants you to do. So please, tell me, what is wrong?”

She turned to me.

Her eyes connected with mine.

I nodded.

She slowly exhaled, braced her shoulders, lifted her head and spoke without hesitation.

“My mom gave birth and they did not allow her to leave the hospital if she didn’t pay, and my dad is not supporting us, so we borrowed the money. That is why I had to leave school and come to do this job to help my mom to raise money and pay back. My mind is always at school and what I am missing that is why I sometimes forget what my boss tells me.”

He looked up and turned to her.

A look of disbelief on his face.

When he asked her a question, his voice was softer than it has been.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

She turned to him.

Her body recoiled into fear.

“I was afraid, sir.”

“Afraid? Why will you be afraid? Or you preferred me shouting at you?”

She looked down at her feet and remained silent.

He asked her again.

“Does anyone else know about this?”

She shook her head.

He fell silent for a moment and glanced over at me.

I quickly spoke up as I addressed her.

“I am sure he is sorry for shouting at you now that he knows what has truly been happening to you.”

He nodded.

I nudged him with a slight tilt of my head.

He hurriedly said.

“I am sorry.”

She looked up.

Her face bright with a smile of relief.

“Thank you very much, sir. I am sorry too for giving you a tough time, sir. I will do better.”

I gave them a moment.

Then continued.

“I can help you pay back the loan, so you can go back to school…”

She didn’t allow me finish speaking and screamed.


Then catching herself she held her mouth and began apologising and thanking me at the same time, while undulating as though presssd and in an urgent need to use the washroom.

I told her it was okay and that I will get the details and her account number from her when I was done with him.

She profusely continued saying.

“Thank you, sir!”

Then she hurried off and began to hug her ofher ushers as she spoke excitedly out of earshot.

I turned to him.

He was looking at me with a wondrous stare.

I smiled.

As once again I asked him.

“So, tell me, what is happening in your private life that is making you unintentionally lash out in frustration at the people you have authority over?”

The wondrousness of his stare was immediately replaced with a sorrowful stare.

As he sighed and slowly shook his head.

“It is my woman…”



This lovely piece was written by Jude Idada.

July 2, 2023

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10 thoughts on “When love is missing – By Jude Idada”

  1. Understanding why people act the way they do is a way to show kindness. Talk about the customer…I admire his attributes

  2. Love covers multitude of sin. Love casts out fear. Love solves all problems, Love gives peace
    Very touching story indeed. True Love comes from God.

  3. Adedamola ilori

    Kindness is great, beneficial for the recipient and the giver. Great writing skills too.

    Well done Jude

  4. The pursuit of passionate purpose, as well as its achievement, that provides a sense of meaning and reward. Well done

  5. Ibilola Famugbode

    Truly, everyone is going through one thing or another…Kindness goes a long way! Picked two things from this lovely piece.Thanks for sharing.

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