I have been a waitress now for about a year. In this time, I have experienced people who were so incredibly rude that I wanted to walk out and cry. Then, there have been times that people have been incredibly nice. This also made me want to cry, because it touched my heart. As a college student, it is interesting to me that at school I am treated with respect, but as soon as I put on that waitress apron, people don’t even look up when I introduce myself. It is obvious that some of those people, sadly, have just come from church with their cross necklaces and perfectly ironed clothes and judging demeanor. I want to tell them, “Hey, wake up, you are a ‘Christian’ and you’re one of the meanest people I have served all night!” But I don’t. Instead, I have channeled (most of) it into this article, in the hopes of opening people’s eyes and offering some positive advice when you are on the service side.
Start with the basics. You’re not the Queen of Sheba or the Prince of Persia. I’m not sure if anyone told you this or not, but a restaurant isn’t your own personal palace; you don’t sit on a golden throne. You are the equal to your waiters or waitresses. It seems that sometimes people in the food business get treated like swine. Why is that? I am bringing you delicious food to eat and water for your thirst. Shouldn’t you be thanking me in abundance rather that dismissing me with a nod? Once, I went up to greet a table, and before I could even finish my name, the woman said, “Dr. Pepper!” I wanted to reply with, “Oh your name is Dr. Pepper? That’s cool,” but I held my tongue.
The next time you go out to eat, look at your server and smile. Let them finish their speech and then reply with please and thank you — remember what your mama taught you. If you are on the server’s end, try to overlook the negative situation, try not to let the disrespect get to you—just keep smiling. *insert Dory’s voice from Finding Nemo*
Tipping. Follow the 15-20% standard of tipping. There isn’t an exception. Even if you received horrible service, show some grace for a second. Your server could be going through something at home that is distracting them from work, and causing them to give negligent service. Would it minister more to someone to show them grace and bless them when they are having a hard time, or to shove it in their face and tell them they are horrible?
I have been stiffed (not tipped) plenty of times, but there have also been times when people have given with their whole heart. Once, there was a lady with a girl’s club organization who paid and tipped, probably above her means. I know organizations like that don’t have unlimited money to spend. The fact they tipped around 13% was great. I wasn’t offended — they had been a pleasure to serve. The next thing I knew, the woman came back up to me and said, “Here, I found some more money in the car. You were a great server, and I want you to have it.” I almost started crying. I told her what she had already given was plenty, but she insisted. In that moment I felt very blessed by her. It made me realize that Christians should be the difference in the world. We should go the extra mile and be quick to bless those around us instead of quick to judge. (Remember this when your waitress refills your Sprite with Pepsi.)
Don’t make a mess. If you went to your friend’s home for dinner, you wouldn’t rip up a bunch of paper and scatter it in hard-to-find places on the table. What kind of dinner party would that be? You would be the weirdo of the group and they would probably never ask you over again. In the same manner, you shouldn’t go into someone’s restaurant and make a huge mess and just leave. I silently applaud the people who don’t leave me a monstrous mess to clean up. Isn’t that sad? Please remember, treat the restaurant like you would treat your friend’s home. You don’t want to be their weirdo who no one likes and who never gets invited back.
Kids. I know, I don’t have my own so what do I know. But I was a kid once, and when my family went out to eat, I was lucky if I got a pen and a scrap of paper to play tic-tac-toe on. Other than that, I sat like a normal human being and engaged in conversation. Children shouldn’t behave like zoo animals when they go out to eat at a restaurant. If your kids don’t have the manners to behave properly in a restaurant, go home and order in, or better yet, teach them! On the flip side, I have served some of the nicest and most respectful children I have ever met. Their “please” and “thank-you’s” melted my heart. I also silently applaud those parents for raising their kids with manners. Keep it up!
Some of the situations I have described above are extremely frustrating. At times, I am tempted to lash out. Instead, I have come to believe that I should take a minute, step out of the situation, and realize that it’s all going to be alright. People are people. I hope my true confessions have opened some eyes. If you are guilty of being a horrible customer, stop now and bless those around you (If the shoe fits, kick it off.) If you happen to be on the other side of things, when frustrating situations happen to you, just remember that Jesus loved you when you were difficult, so can’t you try to do the same to others? My job as a Christian is to show love. The one thing I can control is how I treat people back. As the Bible teaches, love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).
Cover Photo: IMGkid