Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. W and I picked her up early from her office and took her to a chain restaurant I had a nice coupon for. The restaurant was just at the start of dinner service so it wasn’t overly crowded. It was cozy and just right. But I have worked in the restaurant industry before. I know how stressful and exhausting it can be. And when customers sit down and pull out a coupon, well that pretty much sucks.
When I waited tables two decades ago (oh my goodness!) I was often cranky. As luck would have it a surly attitude was encouraged because I worked at a theme restaurant where every person from host to server to food runner was allowed to be a “character”. There were even people who were paid to just BE characters at the restaurant and wander around being goofy or grumpy. Working at this place was a wonderful fit for me at the time because I didn’t have to magically transform into someone who was THRILLED to be taking a drinks order.
Last night I was immediately was ready to be overly kind and gracious to our server, as a sort of advanced apology for being a low spending table.
Whatever hint of an attitude or upsettedness I was anticipating from our server never showed up. She was so delightful and kind. She completely pampered and spoiled us and helped make celebrating my mother’s birthday an Event.
I felt like such a dummy for assuming someone would see a family on a budget and treat us as less than. If anything this woman treated my mother like a Queen. Having her be a part of our night was seriously like an extra gift.
At the end of our meal the manager of the restaurant came over to check on how things were. Mother and W had already made their way out to the car while I settled the bill so I was all alone in the booth. It hit me as I was being asked, “did everything come out the way you expected it to?” No. No it didn’t. I expected a simple value meal. I expected to be hovered upon and rushed to get out so another family could be seated. Instead we had one of the most lovely family meals ever. I gushed over our server to the manager – yes I got a bit emotional.
The power of kindness is HUGE. It is everything. I will always be thankful for it.