The thunderstorm outside is making it incredibly difficult to stay focused. My jams are blasting, as always. I’m laying in bed with Sir Theseus cuddled up on my left thigh. I rushed to get my laptop out to write this, I had so many directions as to where this was headed, mid thought I stopped and reflected on the day I had. One of my dearest friends messaged me via text saying she missed me, asking how I have been, how was work, the somewhat “boring” kind of questions you ask when you are catching up with someone. Like a robot I begin to type out my usual response to the work question, “good, as always!” But before I hit ‘send’ I backspaced it all and actually told her about my day. I remembered when the clock struck 2 and we were officially closed. I noticed my last customer had her card out so I quickly went to her. I asked her if she wanted a box for the rest of her fruit where she quickly replied, “Oh no! I’m still eating it! Am I holding you up!?” I responded by letting her know she wasn’t that I saw her card out and thought she was done. She proceeded to tell me her husband had just died this week and she has been trying to get everything together so she put it out since she was on the phone most of the time. As she struggled to make it through her sentences she must of seen the compassion and empathy I had been drowning in. I didn’t know this women prior, she has never been to my place of work before, she was a stranger to me. That didn’t matter. As soon as she finished speaking I leaned in and gave her a hug. And if you know me, I am not the touchy feely type especially with people I do not know. Nonetheless, it was automatic. After a moment (of silence) passed I told her, “I don’t even have a boyfriend so to lose my husband, no, I don’t know what that would be like. But I do know no one wants to have to go through that.” I couldn’t take her card after that. I’ve never lost a spouse but I have experienced my fair share of death. There’s so much to do, arrange, you have to carry on with your day, act like something life altering didn’t just happen. You might end up sitting in a cafe by yourself at 2 P.M. on a Tuesday making a thousand calls wishing you could stop the world, but you just can’t. And then your server does one kind act because she cares about people, strangers too. I put the book back down on the table with her card in it, “I’m not going to take that. This is on me.” She turned her face directly to mine and insisted I take it, that she didn’t tell me any of that for me to do pay for it. “I know” I responded. Before she left we hugged again. I gave her a coffee to go then she was on her way.
I’m new to serving, never thought it would be something for me. I was always discouraged by the amount of people you had to interact with. I’m no wild animal, I know how to interact and I’m no hermit either, I like to do so. But serving is on it’s own level. It certainly isn’t for everyone but I wish that everyone once in their lives tried it out for a couple months. I’ve been a server for 7 months and my social skills have significantly sharped. There are so many kinds of people in this world. We often, including myself, (hence we), get caught up in perceptions we have of people just by the way they look. And maybe not even clothes or hair. But face and body language. People surprise me everyday. They can’t hide behind a phone. They have no where to go. When I come up to a table they have to interact with me, that’s half of what they came for.
Serving is underrated for 2 reasons.
- It’s hard work.
- The amount of gain is incredible. Financially, spiritually, and socially.
For one, it ain’t fudging easy. Not every place is the same so I can’t speak for everyone, but if you’ve every worked at a restaurant that has running side work- it’s not sitting on the porch drinking an espresso. During the week we have a minimum of 8 tables unless you are at bar you only have 7/8 tables and a 14 chair bar. We make our own drinks, expo our own food, run our own food, buss our own tables, run our own dishes, and let’s not forget, our main job, serve the people. In lament terms that means we are: a bartender, expo, food runner, busser, dishwasher, and server. That is 6 different positions. And that’s not even all of it. Needless to say, we work our quinoa off. I hadn’t realized how much a server does. We are all swans. Gracefully gliding across the water, and kicking like a maniac below.
Secondly, it’s looked down on. “Oh, you’re a server?” …….*CRICKETS*…..eyes open wide, fake grin across my face, “yeah”. You’re right it doesn’t take a degree to do but it does take skill, hard work, and somewhat of a decent personality. With the right mixture you can land yourself a pretty good gig. I make on average 20 to 28 dollars an hour. (Yes, that is the truth. I wish I knew the amount of money to be made in serving sooner.) There are horror stories, rude people, and bad tippers, but the experiences are abundant. And all the people I have come into contact with have shown me something different in myself.
So if you take nothing out of this but this line, faacking tip.