A family of six sauntered into a family restaurant at 3:00 p.m. and chose a large booth by the window. The waitress promptly went over to them to take a drink order. Appetizers were brought out quickly, she even got their incredibly detailed (and large) order correct, and checked on them twice during their meal also refiling drinks whenever needed. The time came for dessert, but unfortunately the mother of the group ordered the cheesecake, which the restaurant was temporarily out of. She was disappointed but after a brief conference with her kids, she ordered another dessert. Now in he-insight, the waitress COULD have mentioned before the family ordered that there was no cheesecake available. Perhaps she was too busy getting their coffee and cream. In any event, the family finished their coffee and dessert and asked for the check. The waitress was excited because she had a slow lunch and the bill came to a total of $150.00. A decent tip could help her day tremendously. The woman called her over, paid with a credit card, and when she got the card back to sign, she gestured for the waitress to lean in to her.
She said, “Every time I go out to eat, I start off the server’s tip at 20% and either go up or down depending on how their service was.” She placed two pennies in the waitress’ hand, looked her dead in the eye and said, “This is what yours came down to.”
The waitress, and I have to say I think she deserved an Oscar for this, without batting an eye, smiled and said, “Thank you ma’am. You have a good day.”
The waitress walked into the back kitchen to her manager, shoved the two pennies into his hand, and lit a cigarette while walking out the back door. The manager caught up the the family outside of the restaurant and asked them to tell him what was wrong with the service. After all, if it was that bad, he would like to know what his staff could improve on. The mother’s response was that the server was “rude,” “neglectful,” and “inattentive.” And the restaurant was out of cheesecake!!!! The manager explained to her that it was indeed NOT the waitresses’ fault that the restaurant was out of cheesecake, but he was sorry that she did not think the service was up to proper standards.
I poured the waitress a glass of bourbon neat and went out the back door to find her. She was almost done with her second cigarette. She looked up at me, gulped down the bourbon in one swallow, put out her cigarette, stood up, and promptly hurled the rocks glass against the side of the building shattering it into a hundred pieces.
“Thanks,” she said. “I needed that.” She took a deep breath and walked back inside.
Wherever she is, I hope that waitress still remembers that no matter who may try to make you feel like shit, no one can take away the fire that gives each of us the guts to look them in the eye and say, “Nice try, but I’ll always be better than you.”