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,