After going to a great Good Friday service at a local church near New Brunswick, we decided to go out for an evening meal with some of our friends. It was a lot of fun, and our party of 9 adults and 6 children made for quite the entourage! Our waiter was very friendly, polite, and patient throughout our entire meal.
I asked to taste the broth (I was thinking a tea cup full) of matzah ball soup (having never had it) and he said he would just bring me the bowl of broth. I thought he was just being nice, since I wasn’t even sure I wanted it, and appreciated him not making a big deal about it.
After tasting the broth, and liking it, I asked him to bring me the actual matzah ball with the intention of paying for the dish. He then indicated that he wouldn’t charge me for the soup at all. At that point I leaned over and told my husband, “he must be fishing for a great tip!”
One of the people we were with then complimented the waiter on his service and he in turn said we should tell his manager since she doesn’t seem to think so. When I heard that, I really wondered if all his sucking up was indeed to get back into his manager’s good graces? I thought it was quite funny, and someone did mention it to his manager.
Not until the whole night was over did I discover that he had given out quite a few freebies that night: the kids all got ice cream, others got free cookies, and other odds and ends were missing from the bill! In all our table chatter, and parents’ keeping their children in check, I did not realize that he was busy charming each of us on his bosses’ dime!
Years ago I encountered something similar when the cashier of a bookstore would give me various discounts because she knew I was purchasing things for a good cause. Not until months later when I heard she had been fired for stealing did I realize the ramifications of her ‘good will’.
I know it may not seem like a big deal to some, but our characters are built on how we handle situations like this one. I definitely think it shows poor character that this server cost his employer money so that his tip could be better or his reputation improved.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
When experiencing situations like this I often search my own heart, seeing the frailty of my own character, and praying for God’s help so that in my heart I will want to do what’s right – not just build some reputation that is untrue.
No one has the right to mishandle someone else’s resources, regardless of how small. I would like to think, if I realized what the waiter was doing the other day I would have insisted on paying for the additional items – but honestly, since I like getting things for free, I really don’t know.
photo by digitalart