Makenzie and Steven Schultz were celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary with a nice dinner at a sushi restaurant, but it quickly turned into one of the worst restaurant experiences they’ve had. It took 20 minutes for just the first glass of water, and then another 40 minutes before they could get an appetizer, and over an hour for the entree.
While many would have complained about this, and some might even have walked away, not wanting such an experience for a special night, the Schultzes reaction was undoubtedly surprising.
In fact, people all around the Schultzes were making fun of the restaurant and how bad the service was.
But they didn’t leave a snarky review, and they didn’t ask to speak to the manager. Instead, they empathized with the waitstaff and left a note.
Makenzie later explained the situation on Facebook.
“So here’s the deal. Our service tonight sucked,” Makenzie wrote, giving an explanation of just how slow everything happened that night. “Yeah, it was pretty terrible. But, it was very obvious that the issue was being short staffed, not the server.”
“He was running around like crazy and never acted annoyed with any table. At one point we counted he had 12 tables plus the bar. More than any one person could handle!” Makenzie said.
As the Schultzes sat there waiting, watching the server run back and forth between too many tables, apologizing to everyone and never once being short, Makenzie had a realization.
She turned to Steven and said, “Wow, this used to be us. Waiting tables. I don’t miss it at all and I never loved that job. I did it for the tips.”
The two of them agreed that this server probably wouldn’t be getting many tips because of how slow everything was moving that night—even though it was not at all the server’s fault.
So the two of them decided to be kind about it.
They left a $100 tip on a $66 meal, and a short explanation.
“We’ve both been in your shoes. Paying it forward =)”
They left before the server had read the note, because they didn’t want to make a fuss. But later on, Makenzie did want to share the story to encourage people to think of others. Too often people will take things out on servers regardless of what the issue is, and oftentimes the issue is far beyond the server’s control. Just a bit of compassion and thoughtfulness about others’ situations can change your experience entirely.
“I’m just sharing this as a friendly reminder to think of the entire situation, before you judge,” Makenzie wrote. “And always always always remember where you came from.”