The #1 Lesson I Learned as a Waitress
Attitude can make you or break you. Things happen to us in life, and we have to choose to have a good attitude about it. Our attitude will affect our feelings and our actions. How we respond to situations in life makes all the difference in the outcome.
I was working as a waitress at a steakhouse many years ago. Waitressing was a side job for me top of my full time job and night classes. When you are waiting tables you see the very best and the very worst from people. I quickly learned that my attitude towards my customers affected my tips. But, that’s not the most important lesson I learned from waiting tables.
One Saturday night, I got a large table of ten people in my section. Since it was Saturday, the kitchen was running behind. When the party ordered appetizers, I rushed to place the order with the kitchen. Fast service meant a bigger tip, and I was working hard with a smile. In the back, the appetizers came across the hot food line, and I loaded up my serving tray with a platter of golden fries covered with bacon and cheese and a bowl of ranch dressing on the side. With a stack of appetizer plates, it was a pretty full serving tray.
I hefted the tray to my shoulder and grabbed a tray jack on my way out the door. As I left the kitchen, I noticed one shoe felt loose, but decided to ignore it since I had my hands full as I moved through the restaurant.
I almost made it.
It’s easy to have a good attitude when things are going your way.
Less than ten feet from my table, the shoelace that came untied found its way under my other foot. As I firmly placed that foot down, and lifted the other one, the problem suddenly became very clear.
It’s easy to have a good attitude when things are going your way. It’s so much more difficult to have a good attitude when you come crashing to the floor in a pile of cheese fries, ranch dressing, and broken appetizer plates. Right then and there, I had a choice.
That could be the worst waitressing moment of my life. Or, it could be the best. It’s all in how we choose to take it. I got up and firmly decided to smile – disregarding the ranch dressing dripping down my shirt! I decided to laugh about it, and smile, even though I was sure that my table was going to be upset because those were clearly their cheese fries on the floor. But, they also had a good attitude and were very patient about getting their food. Our attitude about what happens is important. Our attitude towards other people is even more important.
John Maxwell said, “85 percent of success in life is due to attitude.” Our attitude about life will determine life’s attitude towards us. The interesting thing about attitude is that we can choose it. We don’t get to choose everything that happens to us in life, but we can choose how we respond to it. I learned to have a good attitude and laugh at myself that night. I also learned to double knot my shoes.