The main room of the diner is pretty full and several parties are waiting to be sat. It’s lunch hour on Wednesday, so far uneventful. The kitchen is doing a fabulous job (I just LOVE when Jorge is behind the line, as he just makes everything run so smoothly and all the other cooks listen to him and respect him. El Jefe, for sure!)
A young man in his twenties and his dad are seated in my section. I approach with a smile that I mastered at the peak of my social anxiety somewhere in eight grade. The smile is real, full, showing a lot of my teeth, and it definitely spreads to my eyes. No one has an idea what it hides. It’s my Smile#6. I have a fake one, too, just to be honest.
I take their order, walk away, punch it into the POS and move on to the next table.
Their sandwiches arrive pretty fast (Gracias, Jorge!) They seem content, each working diligently on emptying his plate. I check on them, refill their drinks. They are very low-maintenance, considering the majority of the clientele.
I clear the plates, bring the bill, wish them a wonderful day. Just about when I am ready to turn around, the dad says: “I just have to tell you something…”
Within a second I have several scenarios running through my head:
- He is going to hit on me.
- He is going to complain about something.
- He is going to give his son a history lesson based on my accent.
- He is going to quote the Bible.
What he says is none of the above..
Braced for the worst, I await.
“You are one of the most pleasant people I have ever met. In this world with so much ugliness, it’s easy to become unkind and jaded. But when I look at you, it seems like you have an aura around you. Your light shines so bright! And I’ll remember my lunch here as one of the best experiences ever. Thank you!”
This makes me tear up. It definitely makes my day and I tell him so. He smiles. His son smiles. I smile. For a second, we were the world – a happy world with happy people who appreciate one another and want to make it count. Why can’t we have this all the time?