Waiting For Fun

Most people dream of being doctors, firefighters, police officers or professional athletes, yet I have always yearned to be a waiter. I have often quipped when being served at a restaurant how fun the job looks. Inevitably, someone sitting with me chimes in about how they used to be a server and how much I would hate it.

Yet, my dream lived on in my head. I would periodically day-dream about the witty conversations I’d make with strangers and I would fantasize about regular clients feeling like extended family members. I’d imagine the pressure to get the food and drink orders out efficiently and accurately. (I know weird, right?)

Well, just when I had resigned my dream that being a waiter would never come to fruition, a former colleague announced he had just purchased Up Front Bar & Grill. Giddy with excitement I asked if I might be able to work there occasionally. Still filled with excitement of being a new entrepreneur, he said sure, but I think he thought I was joking. I phoned him the next morning asking when I could work and explained I had completed all the paperwork and tests for my food handlers card and OLCC servers permit. He laughed and told me to show up Wednesday night at 9 p.m.

All day Wednesday I was filled with anticipation about the prospect of finally getting to try my hand at serving. When I arrived 45 minutes early for my shift, I quickly went to work asking questions, making introductions and apologizing in advance for the errors I was sure to make in the coming hours. It was only when I met Katie, the cute, petite 20-something young lady, whom I’d be competing for tips and tables against that I thought to myself,  I maybe in a bit over my head. Katie said to me, “Oh, you’ve never served before? So this is your first night ever, not just here?” She then tossed me a glance which I read as “You poor, pathetic guy. You have no idea what you are in for tonight.”

Lucky for me the bar suddenly began to bustle as patrons arrived to attend what I learned was to be “DJ Wicked’s Going Away Party.” I ran non-stop and feverishly attempted to scribble down orders, remember names, keep tabs straight, deliver drinks, fetch clean glasses, and clear tables until I finally stopped to ask what the was the time. To my amazement it, it was 1:30 a.m. (I had planned on being home a little after midnight!)

I was both exhausted and exhilarated as I drove home at 2:30 a.m. which was about four hours past my normal bed time. I crawled into bed too wired to sleep and my sleepy Stephanie asked me how it had gone. As I raced through the details of my evening in a far too loud voice, she stopped me and said, “Honey, your yelling. It sounds like you had fun. Lets talk tomorrow, we’ve got to get up soon.”

I laid in  bed staring at the ceiling with a huge smile on my face,  as I replayed my evening’s shift and contemplated improving my service skill on my next shift. I have no plan’s on becoming a full-time waiter. I love my job as a consultant, but I look forward to my weekly shift because it gives me a chance to rub shoulders with people I would never meet otherwise. The truth is I like making other people feel “special” and this gives me that opportunity.   Stephanie  loves to  say to me, “Everyone just wants to feel special” and its so accurate.   So,  if I can make a few people happy a few nights each month, including myself, I think that’s a pretty cool gig. Hey, the few tips I get aren’t bad either.

What have you been waiting to do? How do you serve others? I am confident you’ll discover helping others feel “special” has rewards beyond compare.

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8 comments

  1. Sally Mom · August 26, 2011

    Chris, that was a wonderful story and the context just pleasurable to me. I did that once only wanting to cook on a boat and did. It lasted 10 years. Now, I am wondering what I want to do and you have just inspired me to get moving.
    Is there anyone that does not just love you?
    Thanks for the enthusiasm. Perfect timing!

    • Chris Antrim · August 26, 2011

      Thank you Sally! I can’t think of anyone who could better understand what I feel when I am helping others.

  2. scott · August 26, 2011

    Have you thought about becoming a banker ? I hear thats fun too.

    • Chris Antrim · August 26, 2011

      Scott thank you for your comment. You are always quick with the witty humor. I love being a banker and it is because I truly feel like I get to help people. Just like you help people look better. 🙂

  3. Kevin · August 27, 2011

    When I describe you to people, I tell them that you have never met a family that you weren’t a part of. I could see you being a great waiter. You express joy in life, and joy in service. I deeply respect that.

    Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.
    Henry Ford

  4. Tammy · August 27, 2011

    Woohoo! It sounds like a blast and I completely understand. I am a customer service executive and I thrive on that vibe of serving others. I hope you’ll do it periodically. It will inspire you and your writing. Thanks Chris.

  5. Lisa H · August 29, 2011

    What a fun idea! The great thing about being older (O.K., not twenty-something anymore) is that we get to try a few things out that we thought about when we were younger. For me, it was becoming a master gardener. I took the course with friend, and now we share recipes that include something from our gardens.
    As for sharing with others, I try to make the small things count: Smile when I say hello to someone, hold open the door for the person entering behind me, and saying “Thank you” to the person who is serving me. I usually get a smile back, so it works both ways!

    • Chris Antrim · August 29, 2011

      Lisa, thank you so much for adding to the conversation. Being kind or what I like to call “human” pays off in many positive ways. Thanks for reminding us all how important it is to treat everyone with kindness and respect.

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