‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…at Applebee’s
On December 24th 2008 I enjoy a beautiful Christmas eve, but not home at my family’s Christmas party eating ‘lil smokies and drinking eggnog. They are enjoying that without me. I am with my other buddies: my Applebuddies. I’m listening to Christmas music via satellite radio, feeding my face with chocolates, and taking care of my tables. Tips are $5, $10, and $20 per table! By 3 or 4 in the afternoon I am already up to over $100. I love people. Especially on Christmas Eve! How generous and considerate and giving everyone is today. I stay busy even through the after lunch dead time and the crew and I enjoy our Christmas Eve dinner, compliments of Krystal.
At 4:30 pm the dinner crew rolls in. I’m on a double. The restaurant starts to fill up. We already are on a 30-minute wait. Everyone orders food at the same time. The kitchen crashes, people are pouring into the restaurant but nobody is getting their food. Holiday cheer plummets. “Where is our food?” replaces “Ho ho ho and a Merry Christmas” Tips plummet. Christmas cheer? Gone. I apologize for how long the food is taking and for the inconvenience that it is causing. Every time I turn around I hear, “Can I please get some ranch? Can we get some napkins? Can I get my Pepsi now?” My brain is exploding trying to remember what everyone needs.
An hour before close a family of four comes in. They can tell that I’m slammed and they understand. I try my best to take care of them and they sit there quietly, patiently, understandingly. Even the 2 young kids seem to understand. They are as quiet as a family of church mice. 30 minutes later they finally get their food and they are grateful but not sarcastic when it arrives. They politely ask for some A1 and a few minutes later I remember to take it. No rude remark? No sarcastic gesture? They eat their meal quietly and ask for their tab. I give it to them and graciously wish them a Merry Christmas. They whole-heartedly wish me the same and head for the door. They head home and envision sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads. And though they were probably less than favorable circumstances at the ‘bees, I hope they enjoyed an evening out with their family. I doubt that they realized it, but they saved Christmas for me. I had given up all hope on the human race until they came and sat in my section. They gave me hope and enough motivation to live another day. It is people like them that make Christmas, Christmas.
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