No, this is not a post about dieting (as you can see from the picture). This is a post about eating out, on purpose. Suzi and I love to watch people in all kinds of settings. Restaurants are a particularly interesting study in human behavior. I’m sure you know what I mean. You often have the elderly couple who sit across from each other and eat without saying a word to each other during the entire meal. Or, you have the table full of 4 – 5 teens, each one on their phone seemingly isolated by that device from the person next to them. You may have the family with unruly kids running around making noise and a mess, or the table full of guys who’ve had a little too much and are laughing way too loud.
In the midst of all that is the restaurant staff. Servers, Bussers, Kitchen staff are all working hard to make everyone’s dining experience as good as it can be. These days, with short staff and restaurants opening to fuller capacity, that can be a tall order. Suzi and I have always made it our purpose to brighten the day of the restaurant staff when we go out to eat. Whether it was when we had all five of our young kids with us back in the day, or when we go now with just friends or by ourselves, we strive to make a connection with the staff and make their day.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had servers tell us our group has been the best customers they’ve had all day, or that we’re so much fun or something like that. Another way they communicate their appreciation is by little extra things they do.
Orange Juice on A Sundae?
One example of that is Bailey at the “Rebel Grill.” I call it that because they never shut down during the pandemic. One evening a couple of months ago, Suzi and I and another couple who have the same mission we do when they eat out went to the Rebel Grill. We go there often but we had a new server this night. Her name was Bailey.
We had our usual fun and received our usual comments from her but she went a step further. We had been joking about toppings for a sundae for dessert. It went something like this, Bailey said, “I can put anything on your sundae that you want.” One of Us: “Can you put orange juice on it?” She said, “If you want!” All joking aside, we ordered our favorite sundaes (with no orange juice). If you look closely at the picture I included with this post, you’ll see that Bailey made little signs, attached them to toothpicks, and put them on top of each of our sundaes. The signs said, “Orange Juice.” She actually did put orange juice on top of our sundaes!! You may also notice that she “Misinterpreted” the meaning of “Small Sundaes.”
Bailey was great fun but the interaction started out in the normal way. “Can I get you something to drink, etc?” As we two couples interacted with each other in a very positive way and drew Bailey into the conversation, she loosened up and had fun too. Those incredibly fun sundaes were her way of showing us that we had brightened her day.
A Follow Up To Orange Juice
We (all four of us) have been back to the “Rebel Grill” several times since then over the last couple of months but we hadn’t seen Bailey until just the other night. When we walked in Bailey was our hostess! We had a fun little reunion while she seated us then our server came to take our order. At first, we were a little disappointed it wasn’t Bailey. But, very shortly we were back in “Make her day” mode. At dessert time we ordered with no unusual fanfare. But, when our sundaes arrived, there was extreme fanfare. Right in the middle of the whipped cream on each sundae sat a tiny paper condiment cup filled with … orange juice!
Bailey not only remembered our previous encounter, but she brought our new server into the story. How fun is that?! That’s just one story. There are many. Some are fun, others are touching, some others turned into long-term friendships. Here’s my recommendation. Go out to eat. Do it with a purpose to makes someone’s day and see what happens.