Monday, October 13, 2008
Can I Take Your Order, Please?
Sometimes something so unexpected happens that you’re caught off guard. But if it is a good unexpected, it can brighten your whole day. One of those good unexpecteds happened last Friday.
I decided to take the kids out to lunch at one of their favorite places, the River City Diner. It’s a restaurant that strives to be like the diners of old, and for the most part, it succeeds. The menu is filled with diner staples such as meatloaf, mac and cheese, and breakfast any time of day. The walls are decorated with 1950’s replica memorabilia, and doo-wop music plays from the jukebox. So, it didn’t surprise me at all when the waitress greeted us with a ‘Hey, Sweeties.” What did surprise me was what happened next.
The waitress signed to Ashley. She signed ‘good morning, how are you today, Beautiful?’ She asked all of us what we would like to drink, and signed the same thing to Ashley. When she returned with our drinks, she asked me if she could show Ashley that her water was now on the table. I responded ‘Yes’, and the waitress gently took Ashley’s hand and put it around her water glass. Ashley signed ‘Thank you’, and without missing a beat, the waitress asked for our orders. When she got to Ashley, she signed, “What would you like to eat?” Ashley signed ‘Macaroni and cheese.” The waitress then left, and I sat speechless.
The exchange with the family, and especially Ashley, was completely natural, almost as if the waitress took orders in sign language every day. She was sensitive to Ashley’s vision issues without even having to ask me what was wrong, or what her vision was. She took close note of the appearance of Ashley’s eyes, and rightly assumed she would need some assistance. She didn’t speak to Ashley as if she were a 5 year old – she didn’t ignore her and talk to me instead like a lot of people do. She gave Ashley the same respect she gave every other member of my family.
The waitress may have been working in a low-paying, often thankless job, but to me she was an angel – a person who ‘gets it’ – a person who should be a role model for the majority of other people in the world.
When it was time to leave, I felt like hugging her. Instead, I signed ‘Thank you very much”, and needless to say, left a large tip.