We went out for dinner last night, celebrating the preparation of over 2 years that the little man had put in for a test he took yesterday. Regardless of the outcome of the test, we’re proud of his efforts. It hasn’t been an easy road for sure, with missed days and tears and everything that goes with it. He persevered through it all.
We got to the restaurant about 45 minutes before closing time – and I could see the faces of the staff fall. It must have been a long day – a long two years for business – and they would have liked perhaps to just go home, never mind the small amount of business that would be this last dinner would fetch.
We were gently hurried through our order, which of course was itself the thing the little fella was looking forward to. It was all a digital workflow (iPads with the KOT and integrated billing etc) so within minutes, dinner was served. And of course, as usual, hungry folks overestimate quantity required to get over said hunger, so I had to walk up to the counter to ask for a doggie bag. Since I was there, I also decided to pay our bill, and engaged in small talk with the owner.
The other folks were busy tidying up and busying themselves. The young lady responsible for the cash till returned my change while the older gentleman kept talking to me, as all of us small towners like to do. Remembering their faces when we walked in, I left most of the change in their tip jar while we continued our conversation.
I could feel something change at that moment. As I walked away with the little container, I heard their chatter and caught the young lady pointing out the tip I had left. I went back because, as usual, the little man wanted friend ice-cream(!) and they cheerfully packed it for us, on the house. We walked out, with everyone profusely greeting each other good night.
It didn’t break our bank, that little tip. It wouldn’t have paid anyone’s rent. And yet, it seemed to have changed the way they saw us – or maybe me (I had just thrown on the first shirt I could find, was unshaven, and just shabby to be honest. Everyone else had dressed up for the occasion.)
Pay a little more attention to my appearance. Remember to leave a tip. And I’ve missed human conversation!