Archive for February 1st, 2023

February 1, 2023


by Rod Smith

Eager to please the young man detailed our brunch choices and, after quite a wait, returned with neither orders as requested. 

That he was flustered and embarrassed, visibly nervous, was blatant and he rapidly returned the food to the kitchen.

What finally came, despite another lengthy wait, was accurate and beautiful and tasty.

When it was time to pay I added a healthy tip.

This led to an interesting exchange.

“No,” he resisted, “why would you leave a good tip when I got the wrong order and you had to wait.”

And so it continued. 

“Please explain,” he said.

The young man was in obvious pain, almost on the verge of tears, his confusion clearly melding with a history that predicted hostility and punishment and retribution in the wake of simple errors.

I tried to impart the idea that mistakes are inevitable and that I understood he did not run the kitchen and that we were not in a hurry and that what he delivered from the kitchen was truly beautiful and tasty. 

“Thank you,” he said as we left, “and I’m not only meaning thank you for the tip.”

I had to spend time debriefing as I wondered what the young man had had to endure that a little grace was found unsettling.