People often don’t think about the things that waiters have to deal with every day. It’s not only a job that requires a lot of restraint, but also an underappreciated one. A lot of waiters rely on strangers’ gratuity to keep themselves up financially and even when they try their best to make a customer’s experience great, it’s not their fault when there’s something up with the food. But they still have to be the one scolded.
It’s no surprise then why some waiters run after customers if they haven’t been left a fair tip. One server was left seething when he was left only $3 despite his efforts to make some customers’ experience good. The story unravels from there.
A waiter named Seminole was experienced in hospitality. Almost anyone can empathize with someone who has to rely on split shifts, lengthy hours, minimum wage, and rude patrons. Seminole still tried his best to be positive in his work and leave his patrons with a smile.
This day was a busy one, thankfully Seminole hadn’t faced any rude customers yet. While he was wiping down a filthy table he noticed a crumpled note. If any customer had a problem with his service why couldn’t they just tell him? Once he uncrumpled the note and started reading it, he quickly got out his phone.
Seminole has been living in Miami, Florida for the past few years. This is where he met his girlfriend and before he even realized it, things were moving fast. They got a little dog together, there was just something about the small puppy sitting at the back of the kennel that Seminole couldn’t shake.
The dog approached the front of the kennel and started licking the wire of the cage. Seminole knew this was the dog for them. Next thing he knew, they were showing off their newest family member to his family over the internet. A few days past and the cops arrived at their door, they told the couple they’d have to get rid of their new puppy or else. Seminole didn’t understand, what was the problem?
Someone had ratted them out to the police. In Miami, pit bulls weren’t allowed as pets. To Seminole’s dismay, owning a pit bull was illegal and would mean that he couldn’t keep him.
The cops gave him a choice – he would have to go to jail or pay a $500 fine and give up his dog. That day he had to say goodbye to his new canine and give the rest of his money up for the fine. Seminole was heartbroken and had to resume his work, putting on a friendly demeanor and pretending to be fine. This is when a table of customers really put his emotions to the test.
Seminole couldn’t sleep no matter what he tried. He felt awful for leaving his new companion on his own. He got to work without any sleep and had to start his duties for the day. As he was berated by patrons he tried his best not to not to show his emotions. But he couldn’t hide the dark bags under his eyes.
It was close to closing time for the restaurant when a group of office workers came in and wanted drinks. Seminole was one of the only waiters left and decided to stay to serve this last table. After they’d ordered their last round they left, leaving a tip below the recommended minimum. Seminole thought that there was always tomorrow. He was right, things were going to get better.
The next day there was awful weather outside which deterred people from coming to the restaurant. After it got dark, the service got busier as people flooded in. Four 13-year olds came in from the cold and sat at a table under Seminole’s jurisdiction. They talked joyously among themselves, happy to commemorate their homecoming together.
From Seminole’s experience, a lot of adolescents are rude to those waiting tables. Seminole wasn’t feeling very tolerant this evening. But the teens were very polite and before he knew it their happy demeanor influenced his own. Seminole worked hard to ensure their evening could be a good one.
Seminole wasn’t expecting the group to tell him they’d never eaten out by themselves before. When he came back with their drink orders he overheard them discussing which cutlery to use first.
Seminole smiled and told them to work their way from the inside. When he asked them if they wanted to order he didn’t think they would ask him so many questions.
One of the teenagers told Seminole that she had allergies, so he came around to her side and they slowly went through the menu together. “So, the number represents the food present in each dish,” he said as they continued to ask him questions.
He gave the girls recommendations since they didn’t know what to eat. They decided to eat his personal favorites and were very happy to have him helping them with their experience. Once they had finished dining he came back with the bill and some after-dinner mints. As they left the table after scrounging together their money from their bags, they all gave him a smile as they walked out of the restaurant. Seminole walked to the table to get it ready for the next patron. He looked at the bill to find something surprising.
Seminole was disheartened when he saw that they only left him $3.28 as a tip. Their bill was over $100 and he’d tried his best to make their service great. He made sure that the dishes were allergen-free and it looked like they really liked their meals and his service. what was the problem?
He was upset, to say the least, and even though he tried to let it go, it soured his mood for the entire day. He managed to finally forget about it after the day had ended.
Seminole had tried forgetting about the unfair tip. But he struggled to let go of the memories of his friend. He got to the restaurant and thought it to be like any other but there was something left behind at the desk for him.
The cursive script was handwritten in blue ink and had $18 attached. Change shook in the envelope. He scanned through the words. Who left this? Once he began to read, he realized who it was.
“Dear Mr. Waiter,” they opened the later. It didn’t take long for him to identify the sender. “You were the best waiter we could ask for. You were kind, helpful, accommodating, didn’t treat us like babies,” they shared.
He was sure it was the group of teenagers he had served earlier on in the week. Seminole’s heart began to warm. What a sweet and kind gesture! He continued to read the compliments.
“So I wanted to say thank you for making our ‘grown-up’ experience so amazing and fun. I would also like to say sorry on behalf of my group,” they continued.
They explained that they were unaware of the tipping etiquette due to it being their first time out alone. They never realized they had to leave a certain percentage of the bill for the server and that the server depended on tips to make a decent wage. “So, we emptied our pockets and all our money added up to $3.28.” Then, Seminole began to make sense of the situation.
Everything suddenly made sense. The teens had not left the $3.28 tip due to their lack of appreciation. Instead, they got a bit carried away with themselves on their first solo dinner and forgot to keep track of their bill. When they finally got the bill, they panicked at the price and then began rooting through their bags and pockets for anything they could find.
Every adult has made mistakes during the youth. Few go out of their way to make things right. Seminole was touched by their gesture.
“I’ve been serving a long time, and nothing like this has ever happened to me, or anyone. I don’t know how you learned or educated yourself on tipping, but I really appreciate the effort and kindness,” Seminole shared on his Social Media.
He also uploaded a picture of the teenager’s letter, sharing their admirable efforts. Friends, family, and strangers voiced their opinions. Their reaction was more than positive.
“Someone’s parents are doing a good job,” a stranger commented on Seminole’s post. “That’s a beautifully composed letter for a 13-year-old,” wrote another. Each comment had one thing in commen—the actions of those young adult’s were admirable.
They applauded their efforts to make things right, agreeing that seeing such moral fiber in teenagers wasn’t common. But there is an obvious way to stop situations like this occurring.
Most people working as servers in the hospitality industry earn less than minimum wage. They rely completely on tips to make up a decent wage. Those fortunate enough to be employed with 5-star restaurants make a steady wage with or without tips, but the majority don’t have that luxury.
Let’s hope campaigns for fair pay continue. Hopefully, an end will come to tipping so serves can earn a decent, steady wage!