Last week, a friend took me out to dinner. I had done her a favor and she wanted to thank me by sharing a nice meal with me and another guest.

The third member of our party was tired after a long day digging a foundation. She is one of those young people who generally works with a keyboard and code, manipulating the magic behind the screens in our pockets and the day had called on her to use unfamiliar muscles under a hot sun. In addition to the hard labor, her own personal screen had fallen into a stream the day before, leaving her disconnected from the way much of our society now operates.

We two guests offered to go to the restaurant ahead and see if we could secure a table, while our tired friend took a shower and got ready for a relaxing evening.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I told the person who greeted us we would be three for dinner, our friend was running late, and we were happy to wait to be seated until she arrived in about a half-hour. We were invited to sit on a comfortable couch and offered an opportunity to purchase a drink.

We were hesitant to begin ordering before the last of our party arrived. The busy greeter passed us a number of times, pausing on two occasions to ask whether our host was still planning to come and offering additional opportunities to purchase drinks. When our friend had not shown after 35 minutes, on the greeter’s third sweep past us, we felt obliged to justify our continued presence and ordered a margarita and a whiskey.

A few minutes later our friend arrived. A table opened up, the greeter became a seater, and we carried our still almost full glasses to the jersey barriers by the sidewalk. She brought us setups and water and placed a plastic-covered piece of paper in front of us on the table. Rather than the menu I expected, the only printing the paper bore was a large QR code.

Quick response codes were invented in the 1990s to track automobile parts during manufacture. Today, they serve as a convenient way for the digitally comfortable to open web pages relating to ticket purchases, retail shopping, and food ordering. By 2011, about 4.5 percent of Americans had used a phone to scan a QR code. Today, industry promoters claim a quarter of mobile phone users in developed nations are comfortable with the technology.

I am one of the 75% that has not used them. The other guest in our party is even less digitally advanced than I and our host’s phone was in a bag of rice. I explained this to the greeter/seater and asked for a printed menu.

“We don’t have one, but there’s a chalkboard inside,” she said, waving in the general direction of the building.

The third member of our group, who was likely as digitally competent as anyone else in the vicinity, was taken aback. She had been on her feet all day and just wanted a menu. I sat, hoping the greeter/seater would offer to bring us the menu board, as some restaurant servers do when the specials are posted that way, but she simply walked away.

Tired and hungry and annoyed, we decided to head down the street to a less sophisticated restaurant where supper would present fewer challenges, but I still needed to go inside to pay for the drinks we had not yet finished.

At the register, I asked the greeter/seater to consider, in the future, printing one copy of the menu for patrons who might be too old or too tired to deal with technology when all they want is a good meal in a pleasant atmosphere.

“We won’t do that,” she smugly replied. “Things change.” That is when I lost my temper and acted like a crotchety old woman.

“Someday you will be old and you will have seen just how much things can change,” I seethed back at her, catching the attention of the chef in the adjacent kitchen, a talented man whose aromatic fare I had been smelling for the last 45 minutes and had really hoped to enjoy. I paid $27 for the drinks and headed down the street to meet my friends.

That night, email brought me a message from the credit card processor asking if I had enjoyed my visit, and I clicked no. When prompted, I briefly described what had happened. Today the restaurant responded.

“Please don’t come back,” the message read. “The way you spoke to our servers was totally unacceptable. We have chalkboard menus which you were too infuriated to hear about.”

Most humans have great capacity for forgiveness, if given an opening. In this case, hot tempers and an unwillingness to compromise slammed the door.

One of the most fortunate moments of my life came when Dan Dunkle, until very recently executive editor of The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal, forgave me. When I started as a reporter in 2008, during the paper’s VillageSoup incarnation, I thought I was the smartest person in the room and I let everyone know it. In the four years I covered news there, I began to learn just how wrong I had been.

I ran into Dan a decade later, on a walk to visit my mother at the cemetery, and he invited me to resume this column. It was a huge gift, offered with kindness and honesty. I wish Dan all the best as he enters the next phase of his career. I wish the same to every staffer at The Courier, and to everyone who works in the small newspapers that continue to be the lifeblood of American discourse.

They teach us, every day, that a quick response need not make demands. It can be thoughtful, generous, and constructive. May your doors remain open.

Shlomit Auciello is a writer, photographer, and human ecologist who has lived in Midcoast Maine since 1988. Letter From Away has appeared online and in print, on and off since 1992, and is published here on a weekly basis.