A Waitress’s Observations of Christians at Sunday Dinner

Today at work, my heart broke.

Sounds a bit dramatic, no? But it’s true. Let me explain.

I recently picked up an extra job at a local chain restaurant waiting tables. Today was my first time as a server on a Sunday and what I experienced was not what I was expecting.

If you’ve never worked in a chain restaurant as a waiter/waitress, I implore you to consider what waitstaff go through. It’s not just running food from the kitchen to your table. What you don’t see are the five other tables of anywhere from 4-7 people your waiter is serving in addition to your party. You don’t see the multiple trips back and forth to each of these tables with drink refills, rolls, salad, soup, and appetizers before the meal even makes it out. You don’t see the intricate input system the waitress must navigate just to put in the order or the cook who is making an entire restaurant worth of food all alone because the other cooks called out. You don’t see the orders backing up and the waitress getting the blame because she is the face of the restaurant. Your waiter also cleans up after each table, then after everyone is gone, spends two hours ON AVERAGE getting the restaurant ready for the next day. It’s not easy work. I never realized just how demanding this job is.

Clearly, the general public doesn’t either.

I work most other days of the week. I experience rushed diners anxious to eat and leave so they can get back to work on time. I experience families at dinnertime just trying to get the kiddos fed. I experience people coming in late to have some drinks and relax with their friends. For the most part, customers are kind and polite. They tend to tip moderately and leave with a smile. On occasion, there are those who can’t be satisfied and it doesn’t matter what the server does to remedy the situation. But, usually, it’s enjoyed by all.

So, when I was scheduled to work today, a Sunday, I was pretty excited. I thought it would be nice to get to wait on people who I could expect to be kind, have a few conversations about Jesus, and make a good bit of tips since we’d be so busy all day. What I experienced, though, broke my heart. While none of my own customers were rude, my coworkers experiences weren’t similar.

Here are some comments I heard from my coworkers today. See if you can discern what specific group of people they were referring to:

“I guess they gave all their money to the church and couldn’t afford to tip.”

“You can tell they just came from church. Aren’t they supposed to be “Christians?”

“Sundays are the WORST day to work.”

Now, does this concern anyone? It does me. Concern isn’t even the word. Heartbreaking.

Heartbreaking because I see these servers behind the scenes needing Jesus so desperately. Heartbreaking because the actions I see from my coworkers aren’t those of belligerent young adults or selfish people. (These are some of the kindest, most selfless people I’ve ever met.) Their actions are those of people who are hurting and seeking relationship, seeking love, seeking acceptance. They’re seeking Jesus- they just don’t know it. It’s heartbreaking because we leave church all dressed up and go out to eat with our families while these people are LITERALLY serving our every whim and we can’t even be courteous, kind, or generous. Do you know not ONE person today even after JUST leaving church tried to share Jesus with either myself or ANY of my eight other coworkers who were serving them?

WE, AS CHRISTIANS, ARE NOT BEING CHRISTLIKE!

So what are we even doing??????

Guys, I’m so upset. How is it that on a Sunday morning when hundreds of families came through our restaurant not one tried to talk to us about Jesus? How, also, is it that Sundays are overwhelmingly the worst days for tips? Now, I know that being a Christian and money aren’t signs or symbols of each other, but bear with me here for a second: If we come in our church clothes all full of joy and Jesus and pride and then leave our server a craptastic tip, (that’s not a technical term LOL) they don’t associate that stiff with us personally. They associate the stiff with our religion. WITH OUR GOD. If God is generous and we are called to be “Christ-like” can’t we spare an extra five bucks? Especially if we can afford to drop sixty dollars on lunch. **Standard tips are 15%-20%**

Guys, we HAVE to realize that we represent CHRIST. We don’t represent ourselves. We are the children of an almighty God, called to go into the world to save the lost, to make disciples of the people, to BE disciples. We have to think of what we are portraying in everything, even something as simple as going to lunch with our families.

Please. For the sake of the hurting. If your server forgets to put lemon in your water or it takes a bit longer than you’d like to receive your dinner, please remember who you are called to be like. Who you are called to represent. And who the server in front of you could become for Christ if they were just shown a bit of Grace and Mercy in the name of a Holy God.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate

25 thoughts on “A Waitress’s Observations of Christians at Sunday Dinner

  1. Kristi says:

    I have heard that before and as a Christian it does concern me. However, one thing I noticed in your post is that none of this happened to you; you didn’t cite that anyone was rude to you and you didn’t mention getting stiffed on tips yourself. You also said you heard this from your coworkers instead of observing it firsthand. You were working at the exact same time, so if Christians in general were so bad, wouldn’t you have experienced some of that? You are a Christian so you have a way you see other Christians, but your unsaved coworkers might see through their own filter and all of you will see it through the stress of a busy day. If they didn’t receive the standard 15-20% tip and they gave good service for a busy day, then their customers were wrong. But you also mentioned an “extra $5”; people that are dressed up for church don’t necessarily have more money than anyone else and may not be in a position to give extra just because they are Christians. I’d be interested in hearing any stories that happened to you personally, but I’d also like to hear if it’s balanced out by other Christians blessing you with higher tips.

    Like

    • Cate Purvis says:

      I’ve had Christians in the past tip extra, however, yesterday I didn’t get a tip at all on THREE separate tickets. However, this isn’t about the tips. It’s about the way we represent Christ with our actions. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Like

  2. Banned Brooke says:

    I relate to this so much. Two of my first jobs as a teen were in customer service working at a burger joint and a movie theater. Every week, I dreaded the Sunday crowds that would stream in after church let out. It makes me a lot more cognizant of how I treat others on Sunday morning now, knowing I represent a body of believers and that I’m accountable for that (just like I am any other day of the week).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cate Purvis says:

      I agree. This isn’t to say that many aren’t “walking the talk.” I’ve had a few experiences with those who are very kind and compassionate to myself and other servers. It just really broke my heart that on a Sunday after just leaving church and getting “filled up” that Christians couldn’t “pour out” into others.

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  3. Inspirations By Grace says:

    It is heartbreaking. I often think of a man that I work with that is Hindi. He is one of the kindest people that I know. He told me one time that Ghandi said “I like your Christ, I just don’t like your Christians. They look nothing like the Christ they serve”. That statement hit me like a rock because it’s true. We should strive everyday to look like Christ. It’s in the little things, not the big….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. K. Entwistle says:

    Glad that someone is finally writing this down. It’s so true, and we need to be more aware of who we are proclaiming not just on Sundays, but every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. countrymouse76 says:

    Oh my. Your post just took me back in time to when I waited tables. I agree, Sunday’s are the WORST. I was a single mother, trying desperately to make enough money in tips to buy diapers and other necessities for my 6 month old daughter… but for some reason, my tips on Sundays (when I really would have rather been at church myself WITH my daughter) were the hardest to make money. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I was left some sort of literature in lieu of a tip. Really?? Is this going to buy my daughter’s formula?? I understand that some people want to share God’s Word, but do it IN ADDITION to the tip that your server is desperately depending on to make ends meet. Thanks so much for this eye opening post. I hope others can learn something from your observations. 🙂 *Hugs*

    Like

  6. AndiOnATrain says:

    I too, have heard and I have witnessed this. It is tragic and heartbreaking and worth every ounce of drama that one can muster. When I am teaching my students about life and people’s true character, I always tell them this secret to life:

    Pay more attention to how he or she treats the wait staff at dinner than how they treat you. They are trying to impress you but you want to see how they treat others- that is the true measure of their character.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Godsfruitful says:

    Yes, I as well have heard it ! Also there was a group that talked about how bad it was for people to be working on Sunday.(putting down way) but yet they had no problem being waited on hand and foot!
    I know people are people but we have priority as Christians to work harder at being a Godly example! It also starts in our own churches! Great post !

    Like

  8. Pat Fox says:

    All sounds familiar I’m old so my experience was over 50 yrs.ago. I am a Christian & I can tell you none of the waitresses wanted the church groups at any table in our section. They were the most irritating unhappy people . You would think they came from a funeral & not a Worship service. They seem to think our jobs were the lowest of the low,& we were their Servants for real ! They rejected a lot of their foods,usually for the most craziest reason, & always blamed us ,like we made it. They were very hard to please,thus being their reason for BELOW average tips. I was always nice to them, & smiling.I remember once a table of church folk got very unreasonable complaining ( as I was 2nd. to Head Waitress,& she was off this Sunday) So I had to go talk to them , the young girl helping them was shaking with fear . Well I introduce my self following with, now what Church did you say you went to, they hadn’t said,& thought their waitress had said they did, The Dad open his mouth,to say ….. who knows , the little girl yell out the church name, I said oh neat, I go to ____ . All the adults seem shock. Then I ask what their complaint was. They all did an about face, were very cordial & apologetic ,saying oh everything is fine we just thought this dish was wrong, I said do you want something else same little girl says no Daddy this is the way I like, I ask are you sure, she said yes Mommy said it wasn’t , WOW, I think they must believe all Restaurant employees are sinners, LOL FYI They tipped good that day & never had before. Be Blessed ❤

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  9. Karin Rambo says:

    This makes me sad. I wish more people thought about how their actions reflected their beliefs. What I have come to believe is that we can’t control what others do, but we can control our own actions. SO even though they might be acting like jerks, that doesn’t mean we can’t change people’s minds with our own actions.

    Karin | http://www.truncationblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lauren says:

    Very interesting observations. I owned a business planning kids’ birthday parties before and my absolute worst experience was similar to what is being echoed here. However, one of my best experiences was also with a Christian family.

    All people need to work on the image they’re portraying.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ashley @ achildseyes says:

    I waited tables all through college, and I am sorry to say that I made all of these same observations myself. The Sunday lunch crowd was always the most amount of work with the least amount of tips. I do think that, in general, it is families with little kids who don’t tip very well, and not just if they are Christians. What is important to see is that as believers we are challenged to be generous in every way. I often have to say to myself “What is 2 more dollars to me when it might really bless this server?!” Good challenge, and I think it is right on.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Brandi @ penguinsinpink.com says:

    Growing up my aunt was a career waitress so I heard stories like this numerous times. It made me want to be different in how I treated waitresses and waiters every time I encountered them. I’m sadden by the experiences your coworkers and you had. I hope we can all truly live out Christ’s love toward others.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kayla Kamp says:

    I really could go on and on about this, but I’m going to try not to. There are so many things that Christians do that concern me as a Christian. It breaks my heart. No one is perfect, but we should be leaders when it comes to how we treat our fellow humans. This is definitely an area that needs to have more attention drawn to it. Thank you for sharing and trying to do just that.

    Liked by 1 person

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