The Crankee Yankee and I went out for lunch yesterday at the Bratskellar in Portsmouth, NH. Where I was sitting, the hostess and her station was in full view. Whenever anyone came through the door, she greeted them with a smile and treated them as friends. You know how you can tell when someone is being sincere or insincere? This gal was sincere to the bones.
In the booth behind her, there was an old man eating his lunch by himself. He appeared to be a veteran, and he was enjoying a beer and a sandwich by himself. The hostess chatted with him from time to time, and you could tell that he was a regular there.
When the old man finished his lunch, the hostess went to him and told him she would wrap up the rest of his sandwich for him to take home. They smiled at each other, and he said he was sorry that he couldn’t eat the whole thing, but he had enjoyed it just the same.
“I’m so glad you did, and you can have that other half later on. I’m glad you enjoyed a beer and half a sandwich.” She patted his hand and went off to wrap up the half sandwich.
When the man paid his bill, she said, “You know, I’m always glad when you come in here.” He smiled at her, touched her hand and slowly walked out to his car, using his cane. She watched him as he got into his car and drove off.
Who knows their story? They may be friends, or neighbors, perhaps even family; she certainly treated him that way. Even though the restaurant was fairly busy that day, she took the time to speak with him, check in on him, welcome him and show him in her way that he was important to her.
You don’t often see that sort of kindness and respect much these days. All I know is that she treated everyone who walked into that restaurant with a smile and a sincere greeting. Between greeting and seating customers, she also cleaned the tables and made them ready for the next guest.
I worked many years as a waitress to pay for college, and I know how busy you can get during a lunchtime rush. It’s hard enough to do the job and be civil and welcoming, especially when the place really starts to fill up.
This amazing young woman put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I’ll bet that old man smiled all the way home, too. Just a simple act of kindness can make such a big impact.