I don’t know of one person that ever had the life-long dream of growing up to be a waiter or waitress. Do you? We all dream about being super-heroes, policemen, firemen, warriors, a prince, or a princess.
My point in mentioning this is that everyone would do themselves a favor if just once in their life they waited on tables and see what a waiter and waitress have to put up with. I remember my first job as a waiter. I had mostly decent customers, but there were always that handful of people who would speak to me and treat me like I was beneath them.
Some things are simply out of the control of a waiter or waitress. If the cook is not on his toes, everything goes wrong. The food comes out cold, late, or wrong. The waiter is the one that gets the blame!
I remember waiting on a table of 20 ladies one time. Their bill came to several hundred dollars, and the tip came to about 5%, despite great food and great service! This was before they had mandatory tips for groups like they do these days. I actually asked one of the ladies still there, “Was there something wrong with the food or service?” She looked puzzled and said, “No. Why do you ask?” “Because your tip indicated the food or service was less than satisfactory.” She was embarrassed and tipped me some extra to make up for the shortfall. Part of me was mad that I had to ask, and part of me was embarrassed that I had to ask. Everyone felt uncomfortable…and it all could have been avoided had they just treated me with a little respect and show appreciation for the service rendered, and in this case, it was excellent.
I also learned a valuable lesson in how to handle someone who gives less than excellent service. It was at the same restaurant, and I had several tables that were very busy. We were practically running to get the food and drinks out on time. This one particular table just went wrong. The drinks got mixed up and I had to get them remade. The food came out wrong, and I had to send it back to get it remade. I apologized to the man and his family repeatedly, but I knew I was not going to get any tip. When it came time to pay the bill, the man gave me a tip that was extremely generous….like 50% of the bill. He just smiled at me and said, “Keep it.” Honestly, I was pretty macho back then but I felt like crying. He blessed me when I did not deserve it. I wish I knew who he was now, because that simple act of kindness and generosity has helped to make me the generous giver that I am today. A valuable life lesson: Don’t give people what they deserve. Give them grace.
Blessing people unexpectedly is a lot of fun, by the way. Waiters and waitresses are really no different from anyone else. They have dreams…desires…and aspirations. They have rent, cars, and just general bills to pay. Some of their dreams will be realized, and some will not. This is true for all of us. My point is, next time you have a waiter or waitress wait on you, don’t be stingy. Don’t treat them like they are sub-human. Don’t snap your fingers at them. And don’t tip them according to the quality of the food or service. Tip them extravagantly especially if everything went wrong….then watch to see what that does for them….and for you!