For some time now, Nancy and I have frequented a little pizza place here in Abilene. I know everyone’s tastes differ when it comes to pizza. Some like New York style, some Chicago, and some Roma, I suppose. I’m not sure what style this small establishment claims, but I’d say it’s my style. Sure, I like the variety of pies my friend, Jonathan, dishes out from his Domino’s, too. But this is my favorite restaurant pizza.
We also like the people who work in this place. We’ve been impressed with every server who has come our way. Dining there is a relaxing enjoyable time.
Last Sunday lunch began in a way that could have challenged my 5-star review. We ordered soft drinks — in paper cups, please. The server shook her head and told us that the soft drink dispenser was on the blink. In fact, it was spewing carbonated water on the dining room floor as we spoke. Sure enough, I looked past her to see two other employees busily mopping, trying to stem the flow.
I ordered tea and Nancy asked for water. She was determined to hold out hope for that Dr Pepper. The server apologized, took our pizza and salad order. Actually, it was Nancy’s salad order — I don’t waste time on greens and such when pizza is close by. As I stirred my tea and Nancy looked forlornly into her water, I started to apologize. After all, it had fallen my lot to pick the restaurant today.
About that time, the owner came in the back door. He grabbed a flashlight and dove under the cabinet. The fizzy water continued to pour. He came out once for tools and I suppose for air and then went back in — all the way in. Within minutes, the machine was repaired, the moppers won their battle against the tide, and soft drinks began flowing.
When our order came, Nancy’s half-salad was extra big, Dr Peppers were before us, and the pizza was the best I have ever had. Our server was wonderful, too. So, when she brought the check, I gave her a 35% tip. She wouldn’t be able to retire on it, but I felt really good about doing it.
I paid with a debit card. The following day I was checking my account and I noticed that the charge for the meal was posted, but that the tip — my generous tip — was not there. I glanced up and down the listed transactions thinking perhaps it was handled separately. Nothing.
All of my good feelings began to dissipate. Not only had my good deed misfired, but now I felt branded. How could I face the good pizza people again? How did getting stiffed on a tip make that server feel?
We all know how it feels, don’t we? We measure these things in terms of the respect we absorb — or the absence of it. Nothing destroys relationships more than the absence of respect.
Notice today who is waiting at your table. Show them some respect. In fact, go out of your way to honor someone who serves you in any way, small or large. As for me, I’m thinking I may go back for pizza today — or, if Nancy’s reading, for the salad. And I’ll be taking two extra big tips . . . in cash.