The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My Faith In Humanity

My faith in humanity is put to a test on a daily basis, from looting in New Orleans, wars in the poorest of nations, to the crazy bitch that yelled at me for forgetting her side of ranch, even though she didn't order one.

Yes, there are more important things than tips or rude customers, but ever now and then someone shows me that the world can be full of kindness...

It was a normal night, and one that sticks out in my mind.

My old restaurant was falling apart before my eyes, everyday I wanted it to be my last there, then it happened, one of the kindest things a customer has ever done for me.

My GM came up to me and said he needed to see me, he was a great guy and I we had a good rapport so nothing to worry about.

We go into the office and he hands me a hand written letter, addressed to me.

As I went over the words I remembered the night, it was a week before.

I had an African American family of six come in right before close, on a Sunday night.

Right or wrong, and please I'm not going to debate this issue on this column, for this is a happy one, there is a stigma against both blacks and church goers in the Restaurant industry.

Needless to say I try to wait on my tables all the same, even those I suspect might go one way or the other.

Well this family was the grandmother, a husband and wife, and their children.

Everyone was well behaved, especially the children, which is very nice in this day and age.

Except the Grandmother...

She was a little crazy, she ordered her steak well done with onions, it was a Porterhouse, an automatic twenty minute cook time at the least.

Well she started gripping about how long it was taking, she was chugging down her iced tea's like no other.

She was mad the salad came with dressing on it, she raised her voice to me several times, her son and family had apologetic looks on her face the whole time.

The steaks came out with her onions...

She looked at me incredulously," Sir do you call these onions grilled?"

They sure were but of course,"Ma'am I'll cook them longer"

I had them put on again and brought them out, still not good enough.

"Sir this is the worst experience I've ever had, you can't do anything right!"

Finally I had the cooks throw a handful of onions in the fryer...

This time perfect.

When clearing their plates the Grandmother had gone to the restroom, her daughter in law put her hand on my wrist, with an apologetic look she said she was sorry, everything was great and Grandma just gets that way.

I sincerely thanked her.

I dropped off the check, I remember it was about $100. (kids meals, no drinks for the adults, this was a family)

After running the credit cards and thanking them, the gentleman shook my hand and thanked me for dealing with any difficulties with such grace.

I picked up the folder...


I was admittingly pissed, stereotypical thoughts raced through my mind.

I hate to think that way, but I'm only human

Well on that next Sunday I stood in the office with a note in my hand, and a Fifty Dollar Bill...

It was from the family, he had written down the wrong amount, he was managing kids and wasn't concentrating.

Once again he thanked me for the great service and meal, he was so sorry that he made me feel like they weren't happy or I wasn't appreciated.

His mother can get crabby he said, the kids loved me and their dinner and chocolate milks, and he would love to have me as their server anytime they came in.

I was grateful for the Fifty...

But that heart-felt note that someone cared about the way I did my job and recognized how hard it could be, that meant something so much more.

My faith in humanity was revived, at least for that one Sunday night.


At 12:25 AM , Blogger Ruby Lynx said...

Awesome! I've had that happen to me a couple of times at my job, and I go, "Huh?" when it does.

At 4:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a great story..... you are right..small things like this can often restore yr faith in humanity - as long as the world has good people there is HOPE

At 7:53 AM , Anonymous Mark said...

I bet they didn't have the money for such a big tip when they were in the first time. I've had that happen before (suddenly realizing that my paycheck probably hasn't cleared yet and I can only tip $5).

At 10:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup I agree with Mark, I have seen that happen and unfortunately it has happened to me. What great people to make the effort to send you the money. Consider it a rare moment for humanity.

At 10:41 AM , Anonymous Kris said...

I'm out of the business after 20 years, only due to progressive hearing loss that customers get all cranky about. But you are right on - the cash was sweet, but that kind of letter makes what we strive to do mean something. Kinda feeds the soul.

At 11:09 AM , Blogger Kathleen said...

It's always nice when something restores one's faith in humanity.

At 11:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Dude:

Great story! I'd like to see what chicken-shit will take an anonymous pot-shot at you on this one . . .

Love, your Uncle R.

At 8:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, looting is (in general, wrong); however, many of those who were looting were getting food, water and diapers because they had none. I'm from New Orleans, and it's all disturbed me beyond measure. My faith in humanity is, well, not what it used to be.

At 9:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. It's true that it's human nature to hold stereotypes and I don't think any HONEST person, no matter what their race, can fault you for having them. In my opinion there are three types of people.

1.) Everyday people that can't help but have these thoughts now and then.
2.) "Ignorant" racists...these people aren't usually hateful to other races, just ignorant to them and tend to make stupid comments and assumptions.
3.) The hateful racists...and I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

You seem to fall into the first catagory, at least from what I can tell. We all fall victim to stereotypes now and then, it's not the same as being ignorant or hateful.

At 10:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous...I don't think many people were referring to "survival" as looting, down in New Orleans. The "looting" was the people breaking into stores for stereos, TV's, designer clothes and expensive shoes. The same people that were doing that, were also carrying weapons and shooting at the people trying to get in there to help victims.

It's very sad that that kind of thing would happen in a first world country at all, let alone here in the U.S.

That doesn't mean that I'm blaming "blacks" for that...but I'm not going to blame anyone else either. The people that were looting and carrying weapons should be held accountable for their own actions, rather than having people make up excuses about why they needed to shoot at a rescue worker or make off with a brand new T.V.

At 3:21 PM , Blogger Sondra said...

You're not going to blame blacks for it, but you're not going to blame anyone else either? Huh? Well, what does that leave? The reds? Or maybe those damn social deviants, the purples?

GREAT entry, Insane Waiter. Like I said, I love your blog and your stories are awesome. Keep it up...I check your site every couple of days. While you like to rant and rave sometimes, you also have a real feel for human emotion, probably due to your work. You appear to be a sensitive, caring person who is only asking the same in return from your customers. In short, you rock!

At 12:56 PM , Anonymous sandra said...

That's just...fantastic. Both that they thought enough to take the time to write and send more of a tip and that you thought enough to really, really appreciate it.

At 12:39 AM , Blogger j2 said...

woah. that really happened? are you sure? holy jesus. congrats.

At 10:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think maybe the Grandma had dementia or alzeimher's disease.

My Grandma had that, and she'd sometimes get very agitated, etc. for no apparent reason.


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