Yesterday I took Mason out for lunch. He starts band camp Monday for three weeks and then WHAM! school starts. So I decided to grab some time with him while summer was still summer.
We went to a well known chain, and decided to have breakfast. The hostess was very pleasant.
And then. The waitress showed up. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more sour looking face – she tossed (literally) menus and silverware at us and said, “So. What do you want to order?” Um … could we have a minute? She got huffy and walked away, after asking gruffly if we wanted anything to drink. Water for both of us, please.
Mason and I just sort of looked at each other like, what just happened? It was shocking, honestly.
Then I looked at him and said, “Let’s kill her with kindness.”
We did. Some time later (as in, a WHILE later) she came back for our order, and brought one water and two straws. We were fully prepared to make it easy for her – eggs over easy, crispy hashbrowns, bacon, wheat toast and orange juice for me, thank you. All the while we’re smiling and friendly and kept eye contact.
She still had pretty much that same look on her face, but she didn’t seem quite as huffy when she walked away.
“Some time later” she slid Mason’s order at him and walked away, flinging at me over her shoulder, “Yours isn’t ready yet. I couldn’t put the orders in at the same time.” Um, ok.
Some time later, she walked by and without breaking stride said, “I’ll get you that other water.”
Some time later (we’re 45 minutes or so in at this point) she reappeared and slid my food at me. I thanked her. No orange juice and still no water, but other than that it looked right.
Some time later she brought me a huge to-go cup of water. (I’m still confused about that, and I never did get my orange juice.) But this time I asked her a simple question: “How late do you have to work today?”
I’m not kidding about this – her whole body, and especially her face, completely relaxed and she SMILED! She stood there and chatted with us, admired my earrings, asked Mason about school, and somehow by the time the conversation was over we knew each other’s names and she asked for a business card for a furniture refinishing project.
Some time later she brought the check. I paid her and signed the receipt, but I never did get a copy of it.
And then we left her a pretty darned big tip. For the worst service I’ve ever received.
Our strategy worked, and it was so simple. All we did was be friendly and ask her a question about herself. That’s it. And this big cool thing unfolded and turned a lousy experience into one of joy for both of us.
It was purely an outworking of the Holy Spirit, which can only lead me to awe and humility, and gratefulness that I got to live part of this Scripture out in a tangible way today:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)
I keep thinking about her. But I also keep thinking about my normal self in these kinds of situations. At the least I would have been quite unhappy and likely I would have complained to management, while muttering under my breath about corporate culture.
Simply, what happened today is that the Lord showed ME kindness, and patience, and prompted me to respond to a frustrating scenario differently this time. And maybe it was partly because my grandson was watching – he doesn’t miss a thing.
As we showered kindness, we found joy. I got a gentle lesson, and I doubt I’ll forget it. I hope I don’t.
Kindness. It matters.
Ahhhhhhh, poked me right in the heart!
Well done, Angie and Mason!! Kindness can go a long way in making someone's day better. Who knows what (or who) the waitress had encountered before she got to your table? You may have been the only bright spot in her difficult day. Thanks for sharing – with her, and with us.
Yes that is so true – I’ve been wondering about that ever since. Who knows what her life might be like, what pain lies beneath the grumpy.
Love this encounter! Kindness is such a healing balm! It’s hard to resist! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Yes it is – and don’t we all need it!