Grasping the meaning

By Marilynn Brown
This item appears on page 56 of the December 2012 issue.

Tell ITN about the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) The ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.

This month’s winner is MARILYNN BROWN of Norman, Oklahoma:

In Buenos Aires in 2000 at the end of a group tour of South America, my husband, Homer, and I decided we wanted to have an “American lunch” and chose a nearby KFC restaurant. Although my Spanish was quite limited, I usually managed to convey my message, so I was the one who placed our order.

I inquired as to whether this restaurant had any Spanish/English menus and was told that they did not. Then I inquired of those standing in line whether any of them spoke English, and they shook their heads ‘No.’

Therefore, when it was my turn to order from the young man behind the counter, I said, “Dos” (holding up two fingers) and “Pollo” (pointing to the basket of chicken behind him). Then, after taking a deep breath, I firmly grasped each breast with one hand.

The young man immediately collapsed on the floor in something between shock and embarrassment. The other employees ran over to find out what was wrong, then slowly arose, each smiling broadly and looking straight at me!

I quickly returned to my seat beside my husband, only to see all the customers gradually look up from their meals with big grins on their faces as the story spread throughout the restaurant. Nevertheless, our order was correctly filled and promptly brought to our table. We each received one chicken breast, one biscuit and a glass of cool water.