Kindness

July 20, 2017

Something eye opening happened the other day.

We went out to a restaurant to eat, since it was my birthday.

At the place, a friendly older blonde waitress was serving us.

I was focused on the vast menu, trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to eat. It had to be healthy of course, but then again, not too healthy. It was my bday afterall.

Soon my ears perked up as I overheard my companion’s conversations. One was mentioning how our waitress was showing the classic symptoms of a drug user. The speaker was an experienced nurse of over forty years and noticed the shakiness in the hands, bags under the eyes, the odd nervous laughter, and the extreme gaut figure of our waitress.

At first, I was annoyed, but nowadays I practice focusing on something positive rather than criticizing others to stop talking.

The conversation went on and on.

Then our waitress showed up and almost knocked over the hot water holder on our table. She kept forgetting what we said. She also had this odd nervous laughter that became more glaring, and a lost glassy look in her eyes.

Maybe she really is on drugs, I thought. Poor lady, was my next thought. Her life must be tough.

As I am apt to do, I thanked her for every little thing she did. Thank you Liz for the hot water for my tea. Ooooh it comes with honey and lemon too? Wonderful. Oh can I get olive oil and vinegar for my salad dressing? Thank you so much.

This is normal behavior for me these days but unlike other waitresses, Liz started giggling more and more and started brightening up.

I ordered an extra side of meat. She promptly skipped back to me to whisper that even though she typed in “extra meat”, the cook thought she meant I wanted an extra full meal. So, that’s apparently free for me.

Oh Liz, you’re my favorite all time! I said. She giggled some more and brought me more water.

She remarked that our 5 orders mean we also get our pick of 5 dessert orders. We can choose from the counter as we head out, she said.

Wonderful.

Our meals were thoroughly enjoyable.

Then came the bill.
Normally, I never glance at receipts but everyone at the table took turns looking at it.

I immediately saw a glaring mistake and snatched it out of my companion’s hands before anyone noticed.

The extra meat was not extra after all. They charged me for a full extra entree (!), as they should, then also for the extra meat, which I never got. I got charged more than I should.

I started seeing red.
Not because I care about the money, but rather I have a strong aversion to errors. My heart started pounding and my adrenals poured out a cocktail of hormones into my veins. Time for a battle, my body was ready and primed.

On my walk to pay the bill to the watchful manager, I got to thinking. Maybe Liz is really really on drugs. If I complain about this bill, maybe the manager will get fed up with her, and kick her to the curb. This cannot be the only mistake Liz made today.

So, I decided to let my perfectionist personality rest today, it is my birthday afterall, and to think of the extra cost as charity.

After we paid, our Liz happily ran over to tell us about all the delicious desserts we could choose from. We would be getting five desserts, you know, she kept reminding us gleefully. The strawberry cheesecake is to die for, she said.

Once again, my perfectionist personality wanted to scream out that we would be owed SIX desserts, since we got charged for SIX entrees.

The manager was hovering over my shoulder with watchful eyes and the owner, a husky guy sitting in the front, was also watching us, or maybe they were watching Liz.

I don’t eat dessert anyways, I told myself. Even if we took it home, literally no one should eat it. We got diabetics in the family and I’m as clean as they come when it comes to food.

I took a deep breath, turned around, and told the manager thank you for the wonderful food and even more wonderful service.

Oh? she said. You’re very welcome.
Then she went about her business.

Our happy Liz stuffed all of our goodies into large bags she especially brought from the back and kept waving goodbye well after we left the counter.

I felt good about my small gesture. I suppose this is what kindness looks and feels like, huh?