Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waitresses Watch

Something I re-read today reminded me of the impact that Christians have, and the potential for positive impact they can have. Bill Hybels, in his book, Just Walk Across the Room, writes:
Recently, I received a five-page letter from an area waitress who is part of Willow Creek. Before becoming a Christian, I learned, she waited tables at a restaurant where many of us would eat after weekend services - and where Christians from other churches would hang out as well.

"Please let me convey a few things about Christians from a non-Christian waiter's perspective," her letter began. "It's quite well-known among waitstaff that when tables of Christians get seated in your section, it will be anything but a positive experience. Christians are demanding. They tend to stay at tables for a long time. They often try and push literature. And they rarely tip generously." . . .

Her letter continued as my mind trailed off, dismayed over the indictment. She explained that the waitresses she worked with had finally landed on a rotation schedule so that a particular server wouldn't always get "stuck with the Christians." Five pages later, I reminded myself that this letter was penned by a woman right inside of our community. What does this say about Christ-followers when we neglect something so basic as treating a server with kindness, respect, and gratitude? I wondered.

How easily we forget that every person we come across is a person God loves. A person God has put in our path for us to be respectful toward. . . . Someone for us to serve by behaving with a Grander Vision Living attitude: "If you are scrambling and don't have time to refill my coffee cup just yet, don't worry about it. I can wait. I would be happy to wait, in fact." This should be our attitude, because last time I checked, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. . . .

I have a phrase that I communicate to servers on a frequent basis: "You have served me well." And when I find myself in the same restaurant consistently, after I tell them again and again that they have served me well, I typically add, "And if there is any way I can server you, please let me know."
That is great advice that I need to take to heart. If I can begin to see each person as a divinely appointed Christ-encounter, then I suspect that more people with whom I come into contact will come to know Jesus.

I would love it if I my fellow Christians and I were so well known for our kindness and generosity to those who serve us that I begin hearing, "Thanks for the tip. Are you by any chance a Christian?"


Mad Men Girl said...

I waitressed for twenty years, and I am sorry to say this but your waitress friend is right. "Church people", and foreigners who have no reason to know better all tip horribly.

Calling all random acts of kindness! Or even on-purpose ones!

I've entered a contest to win a walk-on role on that retro-licious TV show "Mad Men".

If you wouldn't mind taking two seconds to vote for me, go to my blog, or use the following link, which will take you right to my picture:

Thanks a bunch!

stiverdomeeast said...

Several years ago I remember reading that same story, or at least something very similar. From that day on I made it a point to always tip 20% or more unless the service was downright terrible.

I figure it's a very small extension of the amazing grace God has given me.

However, maybe that means I should tip 30% when the service is downright terrible? :-)

Jeff said...

I thought I'd tell you how Jodie always kind of teases me when we order in restaurants. Apparently, I sort of sheepishly smile at the waiter or waitress and ask "may I have..." I always assume that they have the power to make my dining experience pleasant or awful. And I'll leave the 18%-20% always unless the service was poor.