Waitressing is a hard job. I tried it once and lasted two days. You have to be organized, quick on your feet, patient and nice. You also have to put up with obnoxious people and keep smiling. I’ve seen more rude and childish behavior from grownups in restaurants than any other situation.
Unless my hosts treat me, I generally don’t eat in restaurants. But sometimes I am tired and hungry out on the road, and decide to have a hot meal instead of my usual nuts and berries.
On Thursday, I intended to walk from Albuquerque to Santo Domingo and stay with a Pueblo family. However, they were having religious ceremonies in Santo Domingo and not only was I not invited to stay, the roads were blocked off to non-Native Americans. So I walked along highway I-25 (not the first time I’ve had to walk along the highway) and finally arrived at Casino Hollywood in San Felipe.
My feet hurt, and I again committed myself to buying a new pair in Santa Fe.
I decided to eat at the Travel Center Restaurant and try to contact my ride back to the hotel I’d arranged. (When my plans for Santo Domingo fell through, I’d contacted the Chamber of Commerce and they helped me find a discounted room.) The waitress took my order and asked what I was doing. As I ate, she talked to me and checked in on me. Finally she said, how are you getting back to Tucson. When I told her I planned to drive back with my mom, she said, “Well, you’ll have to stop by with your mom on your way back.”
My ride showed up and I went to pay the bill, the waitress said, “No, this is on me. Just make sure to stop by with your mom when you come back through.” This warmed my heart.
The next morning, I got up at 5:30am, packed and had a cup of coffee. When I got directions to the bus station from the front desk, I realized that I probably wouldn’t make the bus to the Rail Runner in time to take the 7:35am train to Santo Domingo (I was about 20 miles away at this point from where I’d left off.)
I went anyway, and sure enough, missed the bus by 20 minutes. Logistics are so much harder by foot. But that gave me time to stop at the IHOP I’d passed on my way to the bus. Again the waitresses were so kind to me. They made me feel welcome, asked me about my trip, gave me encouragement and told me that my meal was on the house.
Like I said, waitresses are the nicest people.
I am constantly touched by the kindness of strangers, but have been particularly impressed by waitresses. They are used to strangers, and the job requires a certain type of caring and upbeat attitude, even when you aren’t wearing a bunch of strange gear and trooping across the country. I think good waitresses are people who can open their heart to anyone who comes in the door and make them feel like they are home. So, thank you to the kind waitresses of America.