30 Cupcakes

Last night I worked the late late shift, meaning I don’t get out until past 3am. At around 1am I always start to lose my patience. Everyone is demanding. Many are drunk. It can be hard to keep our spirits up. Last night right around that same time, an average looking woman sporting a baseball cap and jeans comes in and sits at the counter. She’s chatting up the staff, looking around the restaurant a lot. I make a mental note that she seems a bit weird, like a lot of lonely people who come in to chat with wait staff are. But I keep going about my business. Toward the end of her meal I notice her counting every single person in the restaurant. She silently mouths “One, two, three” while keeping track with her pointer finger. Just another odd ball I think. I wish I could go home already. This night is never going to end. Mid-way through taking an order, my co-worker stands in the middle of the restaurant and says “Excuse me everybody. Can I have your attention for a moment?” She points to the woman at the counter and has a warm smile on her face. “This amazing woman has purchased a cupcake for everyone in this restaurant. She is fucking awesome and I wanted everyone to know that.” My co-worker begins to clap, and the restaurant erupts in applause. I’m applauding too. The woman’s kindness melts away my annoyance, my fatigue, my frustration at working these awful hours. It is such a bright spot in a night that has otherwise been a disaster. I begin putting cupcakes on plates, 30 total, asking each customer to come up and pick one. They look like little kids at a birthday party trying to scope out the best slice of cake. I look for the woman who purchased all these cupcakes for complete strangers, only to discover she has already left. My co-worker comes up to me as I’m looking for extra plates. There are tears in her eyes. “That woman wanted to buy everyone cupcakes because she is dying of cancer.” I stop for a moment, take a breath. The problem with waitressing is that you never know who you’re waiting on. It is so easy to misjudge people. The teenagers who I think are going to leave me a nickel end up tipping ten dollars. The man who looks untrustworthy gives me a smile at the end of the night that lets me know he is okay. The woman who won’t stop talking at the counter, making a careful tally of every customer in the restaurant. She wants to buy everyone a cupcake before she goes. So here is to this woman, to her life, to her small act of kindness in the form of 30 cupcakes. She gave me a night at work I will never forget. IMG_2798

Waitress Hiatus!

A letter to all my loyal twenty something waitress followers,

My apologies for my major waitress hiatus, but my absence has been for good reason. I have been out of the country! Several months ago I moved out of my apartment, moved in with family, and spent the next few months saving money to take a ten week solo trip around Europe and North Africa. I ditched the life of french fries and mini skirts and swapped it for two and a half months of trains, planes, automobiles, camels, and lots of other amazing, crazy stuff along the way.

Part of me thought I was crazy for taking this trip. Breaking free of the routine I had known for so long was not easy at first. I also left with the knowledge that my job at the restaurant when I return is not guaranteed. But after six years of waiting tables, I knew it was time to take a leap and see the world. If there is something you’ve been waiting to do, putting off, or are just afraid to try, I hope that you will take a leap and do it, even if there are some risks involved. Here’s to adventure, and excitement, and quite simply, following your dreams.

Sincerely,

Twenty Something Wanderer

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Showing the Italians how to cross the street in style

The Stork

I recently earned a new nick name at work: “The Stork.” You know, that awesome bird that drops newborn babies on people’s doorsteps? (because obviously that’s how babies are made.) How I got this nickname was a result of literally, the worst shift I have ever worked, ever, the shift I like to call “The Baby and The Black Out.”

It started off simple enough. A couple came in with their newborn baby (I’m talking a week old, tops) and asked where would be the best place to set up a high chair so they could put the baby’s car seat on top of it. It was pretty empty in the restaurant, and when they set up in the aisle between two booths, I told them, don’t worry, I”ll work around you.

WRONG.

Midway through their meal, the place started to get busy. As I was hustling around their table to give another table their check, my hip brushed against the highchair and….drum roll…..the highchair toppled, and the carseated baby went flying.

Fortunately (and fortunately is an understatement), the baby was strapped into the carseat, and let’s face it, carseats are meant to get bumped around in the event of an accident. Surely crash test dummies have also tested the effects of waitresses as well as large vehicles hurling towards them. After getting over the initial shock, the parents calmed down, got their baby to stop crying, and were incredibly nice throughout the meal. The fact that they tipped me after I nearly killed their child was quite generous, I thought.

Think the shift is over? No. It keeps going.

After now officially earning the name “The Stork”, because according to my co-worker, I “drop babies”, I hoped things would return to normal. I went to the back to grab some menus when I banged my knee right against the pressure point against a very sharp corner. It was some of the worst pain I have ever felt in my life, and I’ve been tattooed multiple times. After a few minutes, I started to feel woozy. And a couple minutes after that…..

Yes….I blacked out. Apparently, this is something that can happen to people when they are in extreme pain. Having never had this experience, I thought for a moment I was losing my mind.

There is an upside to all of this baby dropping and blacking out though. I now know, no matter what happens during my shifts from now on, nothing can ever compare to the time I almost killed a newborn, blacked out, and hallucinated unicorns caring for me in my time of need.

They don’t pay me $8.00 an hour for nothing.

Sincerely,

Twenty Something Waitress

Absolute Nonsense

There are a lot of things in this world that are absolute nonsense that I thoroughly enjoy.

A tree covered in tighty-whities

Original painting by Paul Killebrew

My wish for unicorns to be real

Then that are things that are absolute nonsense that I do NOT enjoy. Today’s example:

Conversation at work today:

Me: “Hi, how are you today?

Customer: “Chicken soup.”

Somewhere during the course of human evolution, it became okay not to acknowledge someone’s greeting, and simply retort back with a statement or command. I find myself living in an age where my customers don’t feel the need to make eye contact with me and “chicken soup” is now a legitimate emotion.

 
I’m willing to put up with a lot of stuff, but people who are unable to answer a simple question and look at me when they place their order is not one of them. Be happy, be sad, be just hanging in there. I will serve you no matter what, and I’ll be pretty nice too. But if you’re going to be chicken soup, then I’m going to be a unicorn, and last time I checked, unicorns don’t wait on rude people.
Sincerely,
Twenty Something Waitress

Twenty Something New Years Resolutions

It is the new year, and you know what that means….It’s time to write my new year’s waitress resolutions. I have come up with the following, which I sincerely hope I will keep this coming year.

1. I will use the arcade token I received as a tip and play one round of ski ball.

2. I will not judge any customer who puts hot sauce on their oatmeal. (Yes, there is more than one.)

3. I will be sincerely grateful for all the creative customers who cross my path, including the customer who insisted he tip me in a mathematical symbol. ($13.00 plus Pi = $16.14)

4. I will not take someone’s dessert order, then only remember to bring it to them once 20 minutes have passed and they are staring at me like an angry vulture ready to attack.

5. I will tell the customers the soup of the day with a straight face, even when it  includes lima beans, brussel sprouts, or any other morally opposable vegetable.

6. I will always give a child one of my pens to draw or write with if I can’t find any crayons, and if I have time, ask them to draw me a picture. 

7. I will be the best twentysomethingwaitress I can be, even if I feel like this inside:

Happy New Year!!

Sincerely, TwentySomethingWaitress

Will the Real Waitress please stand up?

2012 is here! But four days a week, I leave the 21st century for a bit, step into a world fashioned from another era and play the part of a 50′s waitress. It is a world complete with juke boxes, bar stools and classic American diner food. I wear a mini skirt. I refill 1,000 cups of coffee. But there is a skull and cross bones on my t-shirt, and sometimes I make up rap songs on the spot about french fries and apple pie to pass the time. The modern influences are clearly everywhere, (my future rap stardom included), but in some ways, not much has changed. Continue reading

Dear (Very Confusing) Secret Santa

Dear Secret Santa from my place of employment,

Thank you for the time and effort you put into the purchase of women’s plus sized twelve underwear for me this year. You must have scoured the Secret Santa Gift Guide for hours to assure that I would receive the perfect gift. Although the underwear is literally 6 sizes too big, I feel confident I can come up with many resourceful, practical uses for my new plus sized gift. With my new underwear, I can:

Knit a stocking

Pitch a tent

Make an attractive head scarf

Dress a snowman

Make holiday place mats with elastic waist bands

Fashion a mosquito net for last minute jungle excursions

Swaddle a newborn set of quintuplets

Blindfold a set of school children for a fun game of pin the tail on the donkey

Make a new fashion statement and submit it to Vogue

Be the envy of friends and family

And of course, create memories that will last a life time

Thank you, secret santa. Christmas miracles really do come true.

Sincerely,

Twenty Something Waitress