It was not just a slow night at the restaurant, it had been an entire week of zero business. The type of week where servers start thinking an hourly paid job with a regular paycheck sounds pretty darn fabulous. I'm told in Europe servers get a decent hourly wage, and after a week of minimal tips, I was thinking of relocating to Madrid.
Since a plane ticket to Spain was not in my budget, and I'd stocked everything in the restaurant there was to be stocked, and wiped everything that needed to be wiped, I was flipping through a magazine waiting for a table with my hope fading the nearer it got to closing time. I just wanted to toss in the cards and give up for the night.
While reading and waiting for the night to end, I came across an article about Burt Reynolds. Here he is, many moons ago, in all his hairy glory. I became engrossed reading about Burt's financial woes which he blamed on poor investments and spendthrift women. A senior citizen now, Burt has to sell his Florida mansion. Not because he can't climb the stairs anymore though the writer said Burt has a problem walking. One minute he's reclined on a bear rug naked looking, dare I say, cocky, and next he's shuffling around with a cane.
Right then I was feeling rather poverty stricken, and my feet hurt, and I could sure relate to Burt. Well a little. I don't have a million and some dollar mansion to sell. Anyway, Burt said one of his wives, Loni Anderson, caused him the majority of his financial woes. In this photo she looks angelic. Not the spoiled woman who demanded expensive outfits each time she went in public. Or so Burt says. We don't know Loni's side.
I was deep in this engrossing article of divorce and debt, when the hostess said I had a table. It was 15 minutes to closing. Every server in America will understand when I say I was about as happy to wait on the people as I would be a root canal. I had waited so long for a table, I no longer cared. I greeted the three women and wondered how fast I could feed them and get them to leave.
The mother and two daughters were quirky and sweet, but they ordered water without ice. Nothing else to drink. Servers don't find this amusing, especially on a slow night when it's time to go home. Also two of the women split a hamburger. And for this I'm staying late, I thought. They were lovely women, kept thanking me, and yet my mood was sour. I admit it. I'm not an angel. Though Loni Anderson in that photo above sure does look like an angel no matter what Burt says about her wicked ways.
Speaking of angels, the women continued to be nice to me each time I refilled their water. Darn them. Then the mother handed me a velvet bag and insisted I pick out two angel cards. One with my left hand and one with my right. I gave up. I gave in and just accepted that I was there to be of service, no matter if I didn't make money, if I was tired, and it was late. And what do you know. I really enjoyed the three women.
I got these two words. On top of all this, the women tipped me very well. I enjoyed them and we talked for awhile. After they left, I couldn't help think... what was the lesson? This wasn't just a random thing. It felt bigger than that. Important.
I like both the words. Grace reminds me of a power greater than myself, and who doesn't like relaxation?
Before leaving I told my manager about my negative attitude about that last table and then rest of the story. I asked him, "What does it mean?"
My manager, who I think is one of the funniest, sweetest mangers ever, said he knew what it meant. "Don't be jerk."
Yep. I was a jerk. I have to thank my manager who I took this photo of during the holidays. He looks just as proud of himself as Burt once did. I plan to keep the photo because not only does it make me smile, it can remind me not to be a jerk to people who just want to eat.
In fact, I think my manager could compete with a young Burt Reynolds, at least in the hair department.