It’s last week; I’m riding with a co-worker in a Chevy Suburban. We were heading back from a project in the eastern part of the state. A late lunch was in order. Andy’s sounded good – it’s a regional chain with chiliburgers and cheesefries – that sort of fair. The place was mostly empty at 3:00 as our waitress took our order. She was young but not blessed with naturally good looks; rather heavy with a round face, mousy brown hair, and breasts prematurely affected by gravity. Very efficient and pleasant; she kept my root beer full.
In a place where you can eat for about $6, her tip income had to be minimal. I thought about how much more the perky pretty waitresses make in this world. I certainly contributed to that bias in my many single years. Why? I think on some level guys are not willing to give up on the hope that a pretty waitress will notice a 25% tip and track us down in the parking lot and tell us what time they get off. Pretty pathetic really but yes apparently some of us are this stupid. I thought how our waitress probably never got an exceptional tip, probably wouldn’t get asked to the prom, or get many of life’s benefits normally reserved for the genetically anointed.
We paid at the register; I returned to leave the tip. My co-worker left the predicable dollar. I matched that and upped the ante with my loose change for a grand tip of $1.16. I walked out as our waitress held the door, smiled, and wished us well. As we left, another group entered and was being seated by said waitress. Not normally known for my quick or spontaneous thinking, I pivoted.
Back inside I went, our table still unattended. I had been to the ATM the day before so I had ample cash. I surrepetitiously opened my wallet and pulled the wad of twenties. I stuck it under the sweating glass and scurried careful not to make eye contact with anyone. My new tip total was $221.16.
I hurried back through the parking lot.
Coworker: “What were you doing? Did you steal my dollar?”
Me: “Yeah I stole your lousy dollar. Just shut the fuck up and drive”
I don’t think of it as pity or charity. I think of it as an equalizer for all the jackass guys in this world who treat certain strangers a little different. Spouse still brings up a story when she waitressed as a teen; a particularly large and demanding party stiffed her. She still remembers. In umpteen years, this girl will tell the story of an unexpected afternoon at Andy’s. I liked that thought. I made someone’s week and it was worth it. I’ll do it again sometime.