How one incident can impact a server's life
"After a late night of post-conference partying in San Francisco, a few friends and I showed up for breakfast, two minutes after opening, at a touristy little Fisherman’s Wharf joint for some pre-flight breakfast burritos. Our server was a lovely young woman who seemed a bit frazzled, but that’s probably because we rolled up before they even had all the condiments out on the tables.
"About five minutes later, the stereotypical uptight businesswoman -- crisp designer skirt suit, high heels with the red on the bottom, hair pulled back so tight it had to have hurt -- came in and got seated at a nearby table. She ordered a coffee and a water, politely, but in that aloof Sex in the City tone, and a quiche. She then proceeded to pull from her gigantic (probably designer) purse an iPad, iPhone, a Blackberry, and several legal pads, and spread them across the table like it was her personal office. This looked absurd, because, again, it was a tourist joint on the Wharf at 8am, but whatever.
"We got our food and dug in. At some point, business lady must have gotten her coffee and water, because about 10 minutes later, our server came out with the lady’s quiche in one hand and a pitcher of water in the other. You can probably see where this is going… a slight miscalculation of balance as she tried to figure out where to put anything on this makeshift ‘desk,’ and the pitcher of water and the plate ended up crashing onto the table, all over Ms. Businesswoman’s electronics, papers, and skirt.
"My friends and I watched in abject horror, waiting for this uptight woman to rip our server a new one. She must have thought it was coming too, because she immediately started apologizing and grabbed a whole roll of paper towels to try to rescue the various expensive devices. I can just imagine the poor girl was calculating the total of all these things in her head.
"Then something amazing happened. Business Lady started laughing and picking up her iThings with just a casual glance at each one before tossing them back in her bag. She seemed far more concerned about our server, who was almost in tears, and kept reassuring her it was OK, because ‘I shouldn’t have had them all out on the table in the first place.’
"After copious apologies passed between them, our server recovered and brought out another quiche and a water, getting another thanks from the lady, as well as both soaked legal pads to ‘throw away, please.’ We wrapped up our check and were just about to leave when the lady flagged down the server to ask to speak to her manager. We decided to stay just to see how this panned out and, if needed, plead our server’s case.
"Our server was visibly scared when she brought her (older, male) manager to the table and then started to head off to the back, probably to cry and ponder other job options. Business Lady asked her to stay, and proceeded to tell the manager that the service was awesome and she really hoped [server’s name which I don’t remember, but she DID] didn’t get into any trouble, because she wasn’t upset at all and [server’s name] wasn’t in the wrong. I distinctly remember the words, ‘I had too much stuff on the table’ and ‘things happen.’
"I don’t really remember what was said by the manager, but the lady left shortly after and I, being nosy, stayed to ask our server how much she’d tipped. Sorta dazed, she pulled a crisp $50 from the woman’s check pad and held it up for us to see. I’d have to guess the tab was no less than $15, from what she’d ordered.
"Maybe this lady was just so rich she didn’t care if her various phones and things were ruined, but I have to hope, if I’m ever so wealthy as to be able to purchase Louboutins, I’d remember to be that cognizant of how one incident can impact a server’s life and how I could (maybe) help." -- Shannon Karev