More Than Just a Tip

There’s someone I want you to meet.  She’d been a long-term waitress or ten-year employee at IHOP restaurants. I first met her when writing my first published book, Argentine Assignment, and I used to spend three to four hours a day in a booth in a California IHOP.

Because I’m a natural snoop—or educator, take your pick—I found out she had a family, and a job, and was going to school to get her degree.  Of course, that fell right into my “butt-in-ski” personality. For a couple of years, I received almost daily reports on her progress in all those areas.  And how I admired her determination to get her college degree—and was pleased at all the future doors it would open for her.

For a variety of reasons, I began coming in earlier (or later) than her IHOP shift, but this day, after a drought of two years, she was my waitress again.  And did I ever take advantage of that, figuring she might have given up some of her plans.  But, no!  She now is registered at SOU in Ashland, Oregon, plowing ahead to reach her educational dreams.

I was so delighted that I let the eggs and potatoes grow cold while we talked.

So, there’s a story behind every face one sees.  We all need to dig a little, inspire some, and encourage all those we meet.  It’ll feel great!  It almost scares me—the influence one has on others—good or bad, or even indifferent.  I almost didn’t stop for lunch that day. My residence community meals are already paid for, so I’d be paying twice if I ate at IHOP. For some reason, and it suddenly was apparent why, I stopped for lunch at the same restaurant.

Do people like her cross your path? Do you ask questions of your food servers or others employed elsewhere?  Do we encourage people enough to reach for their dreams?  Ships do pass in the night—and may we all see them in time to get aboard!  And since we only pass this way once, we need to grab every encouraging opportunity we can.

So my food got cold—so what!