French Fries in KFC and Why We Do Table Topics

KFC Kaprova. December evening. A few minutes before 11pm.

Crowded as usual. Snow, rain or fog, Prague’s Old Town is always swarmed with tourists and expats hungry for a chicken wing or two. From my table in the corner, I have a good view of the “restaurant”. Since I’ve finished my favorite Texas Grander, I’m now enjoying a quiet stretch of people watching.

I spot a man and a woman, both in their mid-thirties, looking for a place to sit. They’re in a joyful mood. A couple perhaps – even though that’s not clear. They don’t have that air of familiarity around them that you can tell couples by. They take seats at the bar stools facing the window into the street. From my table I can see them from a side, her sitting closer to me and him behind her.

The guy’s face, as I caught a glimpse of it, seems familiar – I have a feeling I’ve seen him in Toastmasters somewhere, but I can’t really place him. He has not noticed me and since he has company, it’s not the time for me to get up and say: “How are you doing!”

Keeping my gaze down, I’m observing them and wondering, what topics they may have picked for their conversation. I don’t hear what he is saying, but I get fragments of what she is. A girl with a loud voice. A few minutes later, I hear her exclaim: “See, I told you! They’re better here!” I don’t hear his response.

Then she exclaims: “Sure,” in her voice a mix of enthusiasm and incredulity. Whatever he proposed to do, he’ll have to do it now. I move at my table a bit to the side to get a better view of what comes next.

He wipes his hands clean with a paper napkin. He gets off the bar stool and stands to face the crowd in the restaurant. He straightens up. For a moment, he does not do anything. One by one, the dining customers look at him. The buzz of most conversations quiets down. I can’t believe my own eyes. He is going to give a speech.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he begins. “I have a confession to make.” Dramatic pause. I realize yes, this guy is a Toastmaster, even though I’ve never seen him speak before. Even the remaining few tables that were talking until now get quiet.

“For all my life, I’m a fan of KFC. I like the chicken wings, the coleslaw, the Texas Grander. But…” (dramatic pause) “for most of my life, I believed it was McDonald’s who had better french fries.”

He looks around the room and then, in a display of humility, looks at the floor. Then back into the audience. “Today, I am here to tell you that I was wrong. I had the KFC French Fries just now – and they are delicious.” Another pause, accompanied with his left eyebrow raised. A dark skinned guy with a beard and an earring at a table on the other side of the room shouts: “Yeah man, the fries here are great!” And points to a half-eaten pack on his own red tray.

“If you haven’t tried the french fries today” the speaker continues, “go get some. They’re great. Enjoy the night.” For the first time in KFC, I hear the guests give an applause. The speaker nods and sits back in his chair.

I’m smiling and shaking my head in mild disbelief. With a corner of my eye I see the girl lean closer to the speaker guy and… give him a kiss.

Now, they do look like a couple alright.

I wonder if it would be appropriate to ever share this in the “Why We Do Table Topics” section in a Toastmasters meeting.

Perhaps something for the next membership campaign.

Photo by Jason Yuen on Unsplash

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