Friday, January 19, 2007

The Waitress

I read this back in September and it made me smile.

HUTCHINSON, Kansas (AP) -- The regular customer eating dinner at the end of the bar always tipped well -- $15 or so on $30 tabs. The $100 tip two weeks ago was a nice surprise, but the amount he left bartender Cindy Kienow this week left her stunned. On the check, the tip read: $10,000.

"I couldn't move," said Kienow, who tends bar at Applebee's. "I didn't know what to say. He said, `This will buy you something kind of nice, huh?' And I said, `Yeah, it will." Kienow said the man, whom restaurant officials have declined to identify, comes in several times a month.

"He usually signs his ticket and flips it upside down," said Kienow, 35, who has worked at the restaurant for eight years. "But this time, he had it right-side up and said `I want you to know this is not a joke."'

The restaurant is verifying that the tip is a valid.

Kienow said that while she always talks with the man when he comes in -- usually about current events or the weather -- she can't think of anything that would have prompted the huge tip. His tab for the night was only $26.

"We'd just talk across the bar. He's a really nice guy. I hope he comes back in so I can tell him thank you, because the other day I was kind of dumbfounded," she said.

"I'd like to take care of my parents, since they always took care of me," she said. "But I feel like he wanted me to buy something for myself, and there's a Jeep that I've had my eye on for a while."

I know a little something about leaving a big tip. I've been that nice guy sometimes much to the ire of my date, even my parents and co workers. Though I haven't left 10 g's in the little American Express leatherette charge card holder yet.

I can tell you hottness will not get you a big tip. It takes something much more and considerably less tangible. I like to tip and I usually tip 20 percent, but about 1/2 the time I'll tip more.

If you are cute, personable and the service is good you can bet you'll have a more than respectable tip, as I've been there done that.... a lot. Yes, I've owned two restaurants, waited tables in college and I have two brothers who are still in the biz.

But if I sense a need, or maybe just a purpose I'll up the number, and add an extra 10, 20, or more.

The single mom..... most waitresses are young but there is just something about young moms that set them apart from their childless counterparts. They tend to work harder and smile just a little less so she gets extra.

And you don't have to be young, cute or even nice. The waitress in her 60's who was not really attractive and had the most horrid attitude earned herself a 42 dollar tip on an 8 dollar meal the other day.

If your backed up and it's all getting out of hand and you have a demanding customer I'll try to make it up to you with the tip.

It's just my way of saying I know.

I know I drink a lot of coffee.

I know it's a hard job.

I know life is not easy.

I know raising a child is your real full time job.

I know tires go flat the same week the insurance and the power bill are due.

I know what it's like to want to go home to see your parents but not have enough money for gas.

I know you miss your youth.

I know the jerk at the other table left you only pocket change.

I know you need a break and I know a guy in Hutchinson Kansas whose a better tipper than me.

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