A Tip For Those Who Serve
Years ago my wife and I used to take the kids to a little pizza place here in Harvey County. It was our idea of a big night on the town. We got the same waitress almost every time; a young girl who looked about high school age. Our kids were good young’uns, but like any other young family we made a mess; food on the floor etc. I’m one to tip okay anyway, but this kid was always nice and we made it a point to leave a little extra. My wife was a waitress when she was in high school and she hadn’t forgotten what it was like. We were just starting out and had a lot of debt at the time, but we figured we were better off than this child, and besides the service was always good.
When the kids grew up a little and started to go out with their friends we got out of the habit of going there. My wife and I didn’t much need to eat a lot of pizza anyway, and without the kids the outing wasn’t the same. We lost track of the young waitress.
Several years ago a young lady showed up at the office and asked to speak to me. They paged me and then brought her back to my office. “Doc, do you remember me?” she asked.
“You look familiar, but no kid, I can’t quite place you.”
“I’m Kathy. I was the waitress at Pizza Joe’s.”
“Well, son of a gun. Good to see you. What you up to nowadays?”
“I’m a nurse in Raleigh. I was just passing through and wanted to say hello. Back then I was struggling and working two jobs. I always looked forward to seeing your family. It wasn’t just that you tipped good, you didn’t fuss at me and treated me nice. I wanted to say thanks.”
I didn’t know what to say.
She pulled her wallet out of her pocketbook and showed me pictures of her husband and children. “When we go out to eat we try to act like your family. I appreciate you being nice to me, and the tips sure did help me get through school.”
I shook her hand and she went on her way. I thought about that for a minute. I can understand if a man doesn’t have anything and maybe he can be excused if he’s not too generous. But when I see a guy who owns some business worth eight million bucks be mean to a young waitress who works hard to make his life easier, and then stiffs her on a little tip, I can’t understand it. I want to walk over to his table and say, “Pal, what goes around comes around. For all you know that kid might be a nurse who looks after you in the nursing home some day. What’s wrong with you?”
I know one thing. That young lady and her husband are doing quite well these days, but I’m sure they haven’t forgotten where they come from, and I bet they still tip good, too.
Dr. BThe Monday Morning Post, Writing
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