I’m a big baby about going to the doctor. I recently had to bribe myself into going.
One particular doctor is in Springfield, so I asked Big Al if we couldn’t stop by a certain restaurant after my appointment. He agreed. It’s one of his favorite stops; mine too both for the food as well as watching the behavior of a specific waitress.
Before that last statement settles in and reads as incredibly creepy, let me point out I’m obviously not the only one. She has an entire restaurant of fans. When we arrived, they were just unlocking the doors and there were a few of us waiting outside to get in. As each group stepped through the door we were greeted with a warm welcome from the manager and a pleasant “Sit anywhere you like.”
I noticed those ahead of us were hesitating, scanning the empty room with its ample seating searching for where they wished to dine. We did the same when it was our turn. We wanted to see where “she” was working.
Describing this woman physically is difficult. She’s probably in her late 50s or early 60s. She’s medium height and medium build. She wears glasses and not much, if any, makeup or jewelry. What stand out are her gracious manners. Specifically it’s the way she says “You’re welcome.”
I love to listen to her interact with customers. I’m positive I could hear the tone in people’s voices change as they interacted with her. They may have come in harried from their morning’s tasks hoping to grab a quick bite for lunch. Their voices sharp with the echoes of orders barked out over the past few hours but within minutes they were softer, kinder.
No matter how quick or quiet the “thank you” from diners was muttered, our waitress was quick to offer a warm and kind “you’re welcome” in return.
Every time we’re there I remark to Alan, “I love the way she says that.” It’s just part of our expected conversation during the meal. I’ve even tried to practice saying “you’re welcome” with the same level of sincerity but I just can’t quite pull it off. It’s as if this waitress has a special insight into the phrase, as though she coined it herself.
It occurred to me this week that I had never told her how much I appreciated her; how I loved feeling the appreciation returned when she said “you’re welcome.” So as Big Al went up front to pay, our waitress came over and began clearing the table. I stopped her, thanked her for being our waitress and said, “I have to tell you how much I enjoy eating here. You have the most delightful and warm personality.”
She looked up at me, slightly surprised and replied, “Cool!”