Luis Santana / Staff Writer
We take them for granted every time we go out: Servers.
The workers who write down our edible desires, bringing it to us while we sit comfortably and chat, doing it all with a smile. This summer, I had a chance to work as a server and the experience as a whole is something that was truly humbling.
If I learned anything during my time as a server it was this: always leave a tip. No matter what your “financial” situation is, it hurts the waiter severely when you leave nothing but garbage on your table.
Servers only make $5.00 an hour meaning that they have to make the most out of the hours they work by serving as many people as they can to break even with those who make minimum wage.
The reason I put quotes over the word financial in the above sentence is because I would constantly see customers come in dressed in designer labels wearing all sorts of jewelry and fancy clothing who would sit down with their friends, own the entire restaurant because of their loud conversation, and then leave no tip even though I brought everything to them.
One time, a group of young girls came to eat. I brought everything they wanted out to them and even sang happy birthday for one of their friends. As they all got up to leave I looked at the table and saw no money. I asked one of the girls, “No tip maam?” she answered with a face of false pity, “No sorry,” and just like that they left with nothing but their wasteful remains on the table for me to clean.
Another thing you have to learn as a waiter is how to deal with the employees who constantly complain that “they don’t need this job.” I’m sure that every job has this sort of person, but in being a waiter, it seems you hear this every day and it can sap your will to work at times.
Your colleagues are talking to you about a new job they have lined up here or at some office and end up complaining about their current job, making me wonder how they will survive in any sort of other job. One kid actually ended up quitting the job while our restaurant was closing just because he was seventeen and felt he had better things to do.
When I asked him what he spent his money on, he said he spent it on drugs and the only reason he had the job was because his mom made him have it. This sort of apathy is common in the restaurant environment and while some days you can just shrug it off, there are other days where it can really plague the way you feel and your attitude as you serve.
While I’ve only outlined the negatives of serving so far, there are days when you get customers that really make your entire week. Whether it’s the family that understands your plight, the regular customer who seems to always make you laugh or the young couple who looks at you and realizes you’re just trying to get by just like them.
They can change the day from regular to extraordinary. One such young couple I had the pleasure of talking to spoke to me about certain movies that were out at the time.
I told them of how badly I wanted to see Godzilla and how the premier was the day after my birthday. Those two young people took the time to draw a little Godzilla for me on the back of the receipt with the day it was to come out and even signed their names on it. They never came back to the restaurant, but I’ll never forget how much that small act of kindness meant to me.
I ended up keeping the receipt as a way of remembering that even though a lot of people come into a restaurant and don’t really care for the one who serves them, there are those who do, and those customers making serving worthwhile.