by Eric Via

My family and I enjoyed a meal at one of our favorite cheapo all-you-can-eat joints last tonight - Golden Skillet.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Golden Skillet - it’s an all you can eat place that is not exactly high-class or fancy - it’s for folks who like to eat a LOT of good food for a few bucks each. The amount and quality of the food is reflected by the size of some of the Patrons of Golden Skillet!

Our waiter tonight, Jerry, was PERFECT! He called my wife “Lady”, he called me “Sir” (You can tell he doesn’t know me) He treated us as though we were in a high-class restaurant! He didn’t even seem to mind the macaroni and cheese my kids dumped on the floor, or even my ill wife’s nasty tissue on the table.

And Jerry the Waiter didn’t do the two things I despise most in a waiter or waitress - bothering us, and brown- nosing/entertaining us.

He didn’t BOTHER us - he was there when we needed him to refill our drinks and to make sure everything was okay - he sensed when we DID need something and was there to fill that need and not before and not after.

And Jerry The Waiter didn’t brown-nose us for a tip - he acted as though he really CARED how we were doing and wanted us to really enjoy our meal! I’m sick of what I call the “cute” waiters and waitress - usually college aged kids who wear their hair funny, act like MTV hosts, and try to be my FRIEND and ENTERTAIN me when I eat. I don’t WANT A FRIEND to serve me when I go out to eat - I want a WAITER OR WAITRESS to serve me….save the jokes they’re not funny and save the small-talk I don’t care. (Am I getting old or what!?)

(One of these “cute” waiters was once asked by a friend of mine if he could have the half-empty catsup bottle refilled - the waiter proceeded to say “I”ll take care of it sir” - put the bottle behind his back out of view, turned it upside down to get the catsup to the top of the bottle, held his hand over the bottom of the bottle to hide it, and swung the bottle back around to surprise my friend and his wife with his magic .. problem was, the LID wasn’t on tight and he ended up splattering my friend and his lovely wife with catsup. Cute magic trick…yeah right.)

Well it’s become a practice of mine to let managers of places (Stores and restaurants) know when someone is doing their job well - this is VERY important to do!

So I asked one of the other waitresses if I could please see the manager - of course to the workers this is a very scary request - they automatically ASSUME something is wrong or I’m going to complain about THEM - and some have even looked at me like I’m a jerk. (And I AM - but that’s another story)

So she scurried nervously away to get the manager - and he appears from the kitchen within seconds. (Managers are always fast on their feet. “Yes Sir - can I help you?” (There’s that SIR again - in a Golden Skillet…wow!)

“Your waiter. ..(I pause for effect and suspense) ..the one named Jerry…..

“Yes?” he says nervously.

“He was…. GREAT!” I say, and he lets his breath out in relief.

“My wife and I were very happy with his service and the way we were treated by him..he’s a great waiter and there should be more like him!” I say.

“Why THANK YOU SIR for taking the time to let us know!” he says, grinning like a mule eating briars.

So you see this is a FUN habit to get into - who knows, perhaps…HOPEFULLY, they’ll call this waiter into their office at the end of the night and let him know what a great job he’s doing - perhaps he’ll get a raise right before Christmas…perhaps he’ll get promoted..perhaps his wife, girlfriend, (or both) will give him something special in the sack tonight -who knows..but the most important thing to ME is that ONE MORE person out there will realize that hard work, manners, and politeness DO PAY OFF!