Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been tons of stories in the media about crazy and generous restaurant patrons leaving outrageously large tips to the astonishment of stunned and deliriously happy waiters.
While it’s true that an extra monetary tip – or even extravagant – is always a nice bonus, sometimes a sincere token of appreciation can mean so much more.
Last Sunday, while waitress Megan King was working a routine shift, she took an order from an elderly woman who was eating alone. King called their interaction pleasant, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“He came in about the middle of my 17-hour shift, and it was Sunday, which is always pretty busy,” King said. Newsweek. “About halfway through his meal, he started to slow down, so we chatted for a few minutes. Little talk, nothing too deep. He told me that he was almost 70 years old … and that he just wanted to pass for an old favorite for something to eat. “
But the note the customer left with the $ 3 tip on his $ 11 check made King cry.
“Thank you very much for your kind service,” it read. “This was the first time I had eaten alone since my husband passed away. I was hoping I could get over it. “
As he ate, King noticed that the woman seemed calm and contemplative. The waitress’s first instincts led her to assume there might be something wrong with the food, but in hindsight, King wishes he had been a little more alert to his customers’ cues.
“I wish I had taken it quietly as an invitation,” he told Newsweek. “I think that’s what she wanted, looking back… I guess she did, in a way. [She needed] an ear.”
King says she was so choked with excitement when she read the note that she had to take a moment to recuperate in the ladies’ room.
On Tuesday, captioned only with the words “in pain,” King posted a photo of the note and one of his tearful reactions on Twitter.
In pain pic.twitter.com/lgjt12Vamx
– ☆ inferior mother ☆ (@alienpopstarr) July 21, 2021
The now-viral tweet has amassed over 821,000 likes so far and a ton of comments.
“[T]This hat is super sad, but also sweet at the same time, ”commented one viewer. “I just want to give a hug to whoever wrote this note.”
Some commenters noted that they thought the woman had given King little weight in the tip, leaving only a dollar, which was not the case. King was quick to dispel the misconception and stereotype that seniors are generally bad tips.
“Many of our customers are older and live on a fixed income, so they tip what they can,” King told Newsweek. “They are always welcome, no matter how much or how little they tip.”
As a general rule, tipping at the end of a meal is an appreciation for good service, but it is all too easy to lose the importance of human interaction in the transaction that happens. King, who has a special place in his heart for the restaurant’s older patrons, has not lost sight of what matters.
The word “gratuity” comes from Latin free which means “gift” or grateful “Nice, thankful,” and not surprisingly, it’s also the same root word from which we get a measure of “grace.”
It’s not money in the bank, perhaps, but it’s priceless anyway.
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