Showing Some Empathy

A table walked in last night and was seated in my section. When I went over to these two guys there was not so much as a hello when one jumped in before the other was about to say something and ordered a soda water and a shrimp cocktail. His friend hadn’t made up his mind so I went and ordered his appetizer and got his soda water.

No sooner did I give him his soda that in one slurp it was gone and he was asking for another. It is a free refill where I work you see. The other guy ordered an onion soup and changed his mind from an ice tea to plain water with lemon. So I get that for him then he wants more ice and his friend has finished his second soda already and wants a refill.

I figure that I should just get their main course order as quickly as possible so I do that but before I leave the guy is ready for another soda refill and the other wants more water. They get their salads and although I have 4 other tables going on they are all twos so I can run around for them. It’s not a big deal.

The one drinking water ask for a 7up now and the other guy wants a refill of soda. It is getting a bit silly when I had to attend to another table the guy with the soda gets the attention of another waiter to refill his soda upon the delivery of his main course. Couldn’t the guy wait two seconds before I went over and checked on their table.

I know I am not making much on this table but they at least enjoy the meal and everything was cooked to their liking.

The guy must have had 10 Soda waters and the other guy a few 7ups and plenty refills of water with lots of ice. It comes to paying the tab and they ask for separate bills.

The one guy who had the 7up , his bill came to $44 and something and he left $2.00 tip and his friend with the sodas left me a $5 tip on about the same amount. So it is $7.00 tip altogether.

But then the guy with the 7up says you know last week I turned 37 and I didn’t think I would make it. It has been a struggle all my life. His friend looked like he had been through a similar struggle. We had a short chat after that talking about Obama in the States and I have to say even though they made me run they were really nice people.

But when he said it had been a struggle all his life I thought to myself who knows what that person has gone through. What abuse that person might have had or some physical or mental defect that started right out of the gate that never gave him a fair start in life.

After he said that if they both left nothing at all it wouldn’t have mattered. Honestly. Thank heavens whoever is reading this we can do what we do whether it is waiting on tables , working on computers , etc.. or just simply being able to lead a normal life.

Especially us who work in the service industry who serve a lot of people , we don’t know what a person has been through. Now that I know these two gentlemen better I will always give the most ouststanding service possible to them and expect little if anything in return. They deserve it for what they have been through and if I can do my part in helping brighten their day. Great!



  1. You have a very healthy outlook, steven. I’m a bit grumpier. However, I did have this one couple when I worked in SanFrancisco. They came in all the time for steak and lobster, often bringing friends. I never got more than 2 bucks from them … but what the heck … I always gave them good service, like any waiter would do for a “request” table.

  2. Mike…Hats off to the volunteers who work for nothing helping people such as the ones I had through their misfortunes. That is the feeling I had. Just above the service and how much did I make attitude to I will serve them again happily and expect nothing.Like you with the steak and lobster people. There is always some good out of something.

  3. no….I have enough hard luck stories of my own I don’t need to hear their as well……gimme the money and do one…..heheheheheI’m only joking…..sort of…

  4. Manuel..I hear ya. I think why I kept waiting on tables was it made me forget some things that bothered me and help put the focus on other people.That sense of service and the tip of course.

  5. I try to have this sort of outlook … but I don’t get direct reminders of it often enough, and I end up thinking 99% of the population is a bunch of douchenozzles.

  6. Purplegirl…Welcome! If it happens all the time it would be crazy but as for tips it’s the law of averages anyway. In sales you have to go through a lot of nos to get a yes. In waitering you have to have tables like this to get the good ones.By the way I am adding your site to my blogroll. I like it.

  7. Sweet! 🙂 Thanks!

  8. When I was a waiter, it did seem that the “neediest” tables tipped the least. Your take on that two-top is far healthier than mine was back then!

  9. are welcome!

  10. Don…when it’s over I just forget about it.Some people are just like that whatever that is. No use worrying over things I cannot control.

  11. I am thrilled not to just be the first to take your “favorite post” quiz… but also to see my thursday wines are now at 100%…. yikes! Isn’t this a non-wine thursday??? :)from Indiana, USA, mTw

  12. Mike..I think the wines are a fun post too as I am trying to think of some obscure grape varieties. Thanks for you vote and I really liked your post the other day with that sommelier. He was great.

  13. wow, so many angles to approach with this post. Diet Coke. I've noticed in the last 10 years that Diet Coke drinkers have no self control. The average Diet Coke drinker will usually polish off 4-6 pints at a meal. Every time a guest orders a Diet Coke I just cringe, especially when I'm slammed. It has something to do with the artificial sweetener and the brains ability to satisfy it's sweet craving..If I get a large party and have several guests drinking Diet Coke I will always fill up a pitcher or two because it's impossible to keep up with them. Any thoughts? Thank you Portland $8.80 an hour for servers..$8 in California. My entire career as a server I've made less than $3 an hour. $2.01 in Atlanta and $2.62 in Detroit. I never saw a paycheck and usually ended up owing taxes at the end of the year. So now when I get a bad tip it really doesn't sting as bad. It still hurts my pride, because I know I've given every table my best (99% of the time.. nobody's perfect..haha).

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