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.