Late Saturday night (and into early Sunday morning), we were at Chili’s in a tiny little East Texas town, having a rollicking time with a wild bunch of new friends.
Our waiter sucked.
I understand that it was a tiny town. I get that Pace and I were likely the first vegetarians he’d ever met. I know we’re freaky and we were loud and it was likely overwhelming to have such a large group – and it was nearly closing time, so I’m sure he’d had a long day.
I took all of that into account, and still. Our waiter sucked.
He was pleasant enough. He was even cute… and vaguely reminiscent of someone I’d seen before. But he was incompetent and a poor listener – and in a service-based job, you’ve got to be competent and a good listener, so the odds were stacked against him.
Pace ordered a black bean burger, straight off the menu. I ordered a sandwich, and substituted the meat for a portobello mushroom cap – an option that was clearly listed on the menu in the sandwich section.
We were both served big honkin’ beef patties.
We sent them back.
He brought Pace’s out correctly the second time. Mine had the portobello mushroom cap, but it was on top of the beef patty. At that point, I ditched the sandwich and opted for just fries. Frankly, being served a huge slab of beef twice in a row had limited my appetite substantially, and I wasn’t in the mood to try and explain my desire again. So I ate my spinach and artichoke dip and my fries and was content enough.
After he brought out our checks, I stood to go to the bathroom and he stopped me. He apologized. He said, “I’m not very good at my job.”
I asked, “Well, do you like it?”
He looked down and said, “No. I hate it.”
I said, “Oh! Well! Do something else! Follow your heart!”
He said, “Yeah, well, I have to pay my bills first.”
I said, “Yeah, but your heart can help with that, too.” He looked unconvinced, my bladder reasserted its demands, and we went our separate ways.
When I sat back down, I reviewed my check. He’d dropped both burgers off the bill. I sat there for a minute, then tipped him $10 and wrote follow your heart! (: on the ticket.
If you hate your job, get out. Find a way. Take a leap of faith. Pray, dream big, imagine, believe. Follow your heart. If there’s anything I’m learning these days, it’s that life is far too short and far too precious to do anything less.