So today we went to see Slumdog Millionaire
(great movie), and got a bite to eat afterwards. And apparently, that’s when the *real* show started.
After waiting a long time before someone even approached our table, this sweet girl with a stuffy nose came and took our order. But it turns out she was just the warm-up act. Our real waiter was this super-animated guy who kind of danced around as he talked. He came up to our table and told us how wonderful the Stuffy-Nose Girl was for stepping in to help; he couldn’t get to us right away because he got triple-seated or something, so he’d asked Stuffy-Nose Girl to fill in until he got caught up. He told us, “Thanks for your patience.” I noted the name on his apron was “Stacy”.
Then he was off and running. Or dancing, rather. He danced and ran this way and that, busy as could be. He’d rush back and forth with trays and drinks and plates, still somehow find the time to stop and talk to us about what some guy at the other table did. Oh, and he hooted. Every time he came up to the table with something, he’d go, “Woo hoo!” like it was a celebration.
He came with our drinks, and slid them across the table like a bartender. “Woo hoo!”
He’d come with a Coke refill. “Woo hoo!”
He’d bring a big plate of biscuits to the other table. “Woo hoo!” And then he’d swing by and tell us how he’d just brought that big plate of biscuits to that other table. “Woo hoo!”
It wasn’t that he was the best waiter in the world. It was just so dang entertaining to watch him work, you didn’t really mind that he was so distracted that he didn’t bring the water pitcher when he brought everyone drink refills but you. He’d just apologize, say, “Thanks for your patience,” hoot, and dance away. And a few minutes later, there he would be with the water pitcher. “Woo hoo!”
Stacy the Hooting Waiter juggled his tables like so many balls in the air, dancing and chatting and hooting as he went. Even though your food took a long time, you felt privileged to be part of the act. He had so much energy it felt like you could burn the calories you were eating just by watching him.
When the food did come, he brought it with a hoot. Oh, but he forgot the extra biscuits and gravy. No matter. Off he danced like a shot, and brought it a few minutes later. “Woo hoo! Thanks again for your patience. Oh, and here’s some maple syrup. Try mixing it in the grits–you’ll love it.” And off he went.
Shortly after we began eating, he brought our check by the table. “Woo hoo!” he said excitedly.
Then…I don’t know what happened, but Stacy the Hooting Waiter disappeared for awhile. The Director’s Coca-Cola ran dry, and he became parched, almost to the point of panic. Just when we were thinking we might need to call a doctor or something–“Woo hoo!” Out of nowhere came Stacy the Hooting Waiter. “Sorry about that, guy. I’ll make a special trip for your Coke refill–no distractions.” And this time he didn’t dance away; he sprinted to the back, and came back moments later with the Coke. “Here ya go. Let me get those plates.” Then he said to me, “Thanks again for your patience. Woo hoo!” And before I could say, “No problem, Mr. Hooting Waiter,” he was gone again.
At the end of our meal, we were just sitting there chatting…and suddenly behind us we heard a “CRASH!” Uh-oh. Apparently Stacy the Hooting Waiter had lost control of the balls he’d been juggling at another table, and some plates crashed to the floor. “Sorry about that. I’ll get that cleaned up. Woo hoo!” And moments later, it was like it never happened. Just an encore performance to end the show.
You know you have a good waiter when you almost don’t even notice how mediocre the service was, how long it took him to get to you, or how many things he forgot because he was so busy dancing and juggling. If he entertains you while he does it, and thanks you for your patience, that sort of makes up for the mistakes, because when a guy is that happy when he’s working, you feel happy, too. He earned every dollar of his tip, because he burned every calorie I ate. I think I’ll always remember his parting words to me:
“Thanks again for your patience, guy. Woo hoo!”