Waiting Tables Has Taught Me Not To Jude A Book By It’s Cover

As a waitress, the first impression I get of my customers is by looking at them. First glance thoughts pop up in my mind. A table of teenagers, “There goes my tip, even though I refilled your soda 7 times, got you three extra things of ranch, and split your check 4 ways.” A table of old folks, “Please tell me there is decaf coffee made.” A table with kids, “They’re going to make a huge mess I don’t want to clean up.” Needless to say, it’s hard not to judge and assume how your table is going to act. I hate to say it, a server’s mind revolves around which table is going to tip them best. That’s where we make our money.

Recently at work, I was the lucky girl that got handed a table of 12. It was my turn to take a table, so I couldn’t turn it down. As I watched eight adults and four kids walked through the door, I immediately thought, “Kill me now.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like this table. I jumped to a conclusion way too quickly. I looked at my coworker and said “Time to put on my happy face.” Even though, I wasn’t exactly happy to be waiting on these people.

With my happy face in tow, I walked over to the table. I introduced myself, gave them specials, and asked for their drink orders. They ordered some appetizers and my time waiting on them started to roll forward. The more I talked to them, I realized these people were just happy to be out to dinner. They were from out of town and visiting for vacation. I preceded to take their food order. The whole time I was thinking, ‘These people aren’t going to tip me well.’ Something about them had me feeling this way. I had a bad attitude about it. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was because there were 12 of them, or maybe it was because there were kids at the table, or maybe I was just being a jerk. None the less, I continued on doing my job to the best of my ability. As time went on, they ate their dinner, and I got them on their way. They were very nice and no one complained. Even better, they only asked for one check. On top of that, they didn’t need change.  In the serving world, not much is better then that! Because of other tables, I didn’t get a chance to look at the tip they left me. About half an hour later, my manager informed me that a customer from that table had returned. He came back, and gave my manger another $20 to add to my tip. He said, “He realized he had shorted me on my tip.” This was an act of kindness I never saw coming. It’s not every day people are that kind. That was a moment I realized how important it is to never judge a book by it’s cover.

I was quick to judge and assumed the people I waited on wouldn’t be kind or leave a decent tip. I was wrong. I have encountered situations where I have assumed the opposite and was also proven wrong. Judging by looking at someone, you can’t predict how they are going to treat you.

It’s one of the most cliche sayings out there, “Don’t jude a book by it’s cover.” No matter how many times it is said, it will always stand true. Obviously this saying is applied to books. More often then not, it is applied most to people. It is difficult to not judge people solely by looking at them. It is human nature to do so. What’s more difficult is not letting that instinct cloud your judgement. This is such an important lesson to learn in life.

“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is something I have heard my entire life. I do my best to follow this with everything I do. I will admit some days that is easier said then done. I am a strong believer in this though. You never know what a person is going through or surviving. I truly learned how import this saying is was when I started working as a waitress. It opened up my eyes.  Everyone has their story. Just like you have your own. Don’t judge others and give them the opportunity to treat you the same way.


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