Tipping The Scales Towards The Good

, , | Boston, MA, USA | Hopeless | May 27, 2016

(I work at an old family restaurant that has been in the area for generations. One of our regulars is a woman who has been coming here every week for a while now, since she works right down the street, and the wait staff have gotten to know her. I oversee the following between one of our waitresses and the regular, between the waitress’s trips to her tables…)

Waitress: “The usual today?”

Regular: “Yeah, same as always. You doing okay?”

Waitress: “Things are rough at home, that’s all.”

Regular: “What’s up?”

Waitress: “My husband got arrested last night. His probation was almost up. It was something really stupid. He was fine, good behavior, he’s been great…Now I’m alone with the kids, and they don’t really understand what’s going on, and they want their dad, and it’s just been hard…”

Regular: “That’s really awful. Let me know if you need anything, all right?”

Waitress: “It’ll be okay. He’s going to get off light, they say, if he behaves…It’s just a few months…”

Regular: “It’ll be okay. He’ll be home soon.”

Waitress: “Yeah.”

(Later, the waitress hands off the receipt, the regular pays with card, she hands back the receipt for signing. The regular leaves, and then this happens:)

Cashier: “Hey, [Waitress]… she left you a two hundred dollar tip.”

Waitress: “What? You mean twenty dollars. That’s ridiculous.”

Cashier: “No, look at this.”

(The tip has “$200.00” written on it, with a note of well wishes on the side. After glancing at it, the waitress flees out the door with the rest of us chuckling behind her in the entryway. She returns after a bit, out of breath.)

Waitress: “I caught up with her down the sidewalk. That’s ridiculous! She never gets to tip me again!”

(We all laughed. The regular still comes back every week. I’m glad people have each other’s backs in this world.)

Drive It Forward

, , | OK, USA | Hopeless | May 26, 2016

(Several years ago, my wife was on disability and I was unemployed, and finances were always tight. I had a contract job lined up that would pay $50, but I needed gas to get there and back. We went into a local store and started feeding all the loose change we could find into the self-checkout to load a gift card for gas.)

Person: “You know, there’s a change-trading machine over there.” *motions toward change-trading machine*

Me: “Yeah, I know, but they charge a fee, and I need every cent to go into the gas tank.”

Person: “Ah, I understand.”

(A moment or two later, she came over and pressed a $10 into my hand.)

Person: “Hope this helps!”

(I was so thankful, and I have never forgotten that. I do my best to pay it forward as much as I can.)

An Appetite To Do The Right Thing

, , , , , | Orlando, FL, USA | Hopeless | May 24, 2016

(I’ve just graduated high school and my family decides to eat at a nice restaurant after the ceremony. A lot of my extended family has made a considerable drive to be there. Since it is pretty late, we ask the hostess when they close and if we should try somewhere else but we found out they still had an hour to close. We order some appetizers and our meals, those of age order alcoholic beverages too. All in all eight people have meals consisting of $30-50 dollars. The appetizers never came out but we figured they were close to closing so it wasn’t important and we would rather just have them waived from our bill. Upon telling our waitress this, she fetches the manager.)

Manager: “I’m very sorry to hear that your appetizers never arrived. I’m going to comp you for them and still give them to you if you don’t mind waiting 5 or 10 minutes.”

Stepfather: “Sounds good to us. We are just talking and catching up.”

(The manager leaves to presumably oversee appetizers before coming back not three minutes later.)

Manager: “Okay, guys, I found out what happened to the appetizers. Apparently the fry cook decided he would call it a night early and shut off the fryer and refuse orders for the last hour of opening. He is currently restarting the fryer now.”

Stepfather: “Well, I know it was late when we came in; it really isn’t that big of a deal.”

(The manager goes to leave but stops and regards me for a second. I’m still dressed in my cap and gown from the ceremony.)

Manager: “Wait, did you just graduate?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Manager: “So that makes this your graduation dinner?”

Me: “Yes, sir…”

(He mutters under his breath and double times it to the kitchen where we can hear him yelling in the now quiet and closed restaurant. He returns shortly with our check.)

Manager: “I got to thinking about how you just graduated and this was supposed to be a special meal for you and my employees couldn’t even fulfill our basic menu items. It left a very bad taste in my mouth. So in addition to your appetizers, I’ve decided to comp your entire meal. I’m very sorry for the level of service.”

Stepfather: *dumbfounded while he stares at the bill that has been comped to the tune of over $200* “I…. we appreciate you being straightforward with us and we really appreciate the gesture of comping our bill!”

(The manager just wishes us a good night and returns to the back, presumably to continue reprimanding his kitchen. As I grew up and got jobs in retail, I never forgot how honest and dedicated to the customer that manager was. He could’ve given us the run around but he decided that the truth, even though it made him and the restaurant look incompetent, was more important. He was so ready to take the blame himself and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to write off a $200 bill.)

Low-Rent But High-Class

, , | Finland | Hopeless | May 18, 2016

(I’ve had an awful week altogether: a close relative’s battle with cancer is not going well, I sprained my ankle and it has been hurting for days, my tooth has been aching, I had to get a biopsy of a lump in my breast, my studies are not progressing as well as they should, due to our differing schedules I haven’t been able to talk to my best friend in few weeks… Pretty much nothing is going my way. Then I call my landlady.)

Me: “Hi! I just called to ask if it’s okay to lend the spare key to my friend? She has university’s entrance exams here in a few weeks, but I won’t be here during them because I’m going on a trip with another friend. She will just leave the keys here when she’s done.”

Landlady: “Oh, that’s fine. I’ll try not to visit then, so I won’t scare her. But how has it been going? We haven’t seen each other for a while.”

Me: “Well, I should be getting on with my studies, but I’m a bit behind the schedule. It’ll take me another year to graduate from [University].”

Landlady: “That’s not even slow. My daughter took ten years to graduate.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess six years is just fine. Well, in other news, I’ll be going home to work for the summer. I’ll still pay the rent for my room, though.”

Landlady: “I was meaning to say something about that. You and [Roommate] have been really good tenants, so I was wondering what you’d say about not paying rent for June?”

Me: “Oh, that sounds really good, but that’s… too much. I can’t ask for that.”

Landlady: “Well, you’ve lived there for many years, always paid your rent on time, and I don’t have to worry about the apartment, so I’d really like to do this. I know you don’t make too much money over the summer anyway. Can you tell this to [Roommate], too?”

Me: “Of course! Thanks. This is amazing.”

(My landlady had always been an awesome lady, but this left me almost crying from happiness after the horrible week I had been going though.)

Make Sure You Book The Good Waitress

, , | Houston, TX, USA | Hopeless | May 13, 2016

(I am out to dinner with my mom. We have just come back from a high school football game my close friend played in. It is rush hour traffic on Friday and the restaurant is extremely crowded. We are just about done with our meal when this happens.)

Mom: “Hey!” *trying to get our waitress’ attention* “Can we get our bill, please? We don’t need to take any more time than we need to.”

Waitress: “Sure, I will be back in a couple of minutes.”

(My mom and I start talking about a book I am reading when the waitress comes back.)

Waitress: “Here is your bill; are you guys talking about [Book I am reading]?”

Me: “Yeah. Have you read it before?”

Waitress: *sad tone* “No, but I really want to. Between school, work, and family I don’t have much free time much less any extra money.”

Me: “Oh, well, it is a really good book about…” *add really badly-explained book theme here because I’m bad at explaining*

(The waitress is visibly stressed until we start talking about the book, at which she becomes significantly calmer.)

Mom: “We will be going in a couple of minutes. I have to get something from my bag.”

Waiter: “Okay, I will be back in a few minutes.”

Mom: *pulls out a $20 bill the split second after our waitress disappears from view along with our bill total with a note saying “go buy yourself a book : )”*

(My mom and I hurried out to our car after we set the note on the table. I popped back inside just in time for her to read the note. I will never forget that happy feeling I got looking at her read that note. If the waitress that we had ever reads this I hope you got a good book you liked!)

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