Seminole, a Reddit user, was far too accustomed to the business. Everyone can sympathize with those who depend on the split shifts, long hours, minimum wage, and ill mannered customers. His work was difficult, but he made sure to stay positive. And although he was struggling to pay his rent, he still tried his best to make those lucky enough to sit at his tables laugh. The day was going quick.
He had yet to have a confrontational customer. Then, as he was busting a dirty table, he noticed a scribbled crinkled note. He sighed. If he had an issue, why didn’t they say it to his face? But once he had a look, he ran to retrieve his phone.
Seminole had been settled in Miami, Florida, for the past few years. Here he met his girlfriend. Things were moving quickly, and before he knew it, they were adopting a puppy together. Seminole was entranced by the lonely, quiet pup at the back of the kennel. When Seminole approached the cage, the canine came to him and began to lick the wire.
He took this as a sign. Before they knew it, they were home, taking selfies and sharing the newest member of their family online. But a few days later, the cops were knocking down their front door. They told him he’d have to return his new companion to the pound or face the consequences. He was confused.
What need was there for threats? Some online user had blown the whistle. Unbeknownst to Seminole, pit Bulls were banned in Miami. The officers explained that purebred pit Bulls and any sort of mix were considered dangerous to the public and to his horror, owning one was a crime. The police officers gave Seminole two choices pay a $500 fine and give up his canine or face going to jail.
Ultimately, Seminole had to say goodbye to his hard earned money and his friend. And although he was suffering from heartbreak, he had to put a smile on and get back to work. But he was fragile and one group of customers nearly broke him. Seminole didn’t sleep that night. He tossed and turned, haunted by the guilt of giving up his beloved pet.
He was exhausted when he arrived to work the next day, but he went about his daily duties, putting on a brave face as customers complained about the food or questioned the bill. The bags under his eyes were hard not to notice. As he prepared to close for the night, a large group of office workers sat down and ordered some drinks. Most of the crew had left by closing time, but Seminole stayed to serve the rowdy bunch. Eventually, the last round was ordered and he gave them the bill.
The minimum tip was suggested on the receipt. Minimum didn’t add up to the amount of work, but it was better than nothing. Tomorrow will be better, he told himself. But luck wasn’t on his side. The next day dragged.
The terrible weather made possible customers stay in instead of eating out. As the evening approached, things began to pick up. A group of 413 year olds sat in seven old section. They smiled and joked amongst themselves, celebrating their homecoming. He exhaled.
Most teenagers were rude and obnoxious. He didn’t have the patience for that today. Thankfully, these teens were polite and respectful. Their cheerful demeanor began to rub off on him. As always, he did his best to make their dining experience a pleasant one.
Then he shared something that made him laugh. To Seminole’s surprise, it was the group’s first time eating alone. Sure, they’d gone out for dinner before, but never without a chaperone. He laughed as they debated over the current cutlery use. Why are there so many Forks?
He heard them whispered as he returned with their sodas. After giving some personal recommendations, Seminole managed to convince them to try his favorite suitable dishes. Once they finished their dishes, he placed the bill on their table, accompanied with some mints. They placed their notes on the receipt and left with smiles on their faces. When he returned to clear the table, he was shocked to Seminoles discussed.
The teenagers only left a tip of three point $28, but their total bill was more than $100. He’d gone above and beyond checking with the chefs to ensure the dishes were safe for them to consume. They seemed to have enjoyed their meals and even thanked him before they left. How could they be so rude? He was so disappointed against his best attempts, it managed to influence the rest of his day.
Colleagues noticed his foul mood. By the end, he managed to shake the experience until later that week. Seminole had moved on from the unfair tip, but he struggled to let go of the memories of his friend. He arrived at work and expected it to be like any other, but there was something left behind the desk for him. The two page letter was addressed to him.
The cursive script was handwritten in blue ink and had $18 attached. Chain shook in the envelope. He scanned through the type. Who left this? Once he began to read, he realized who it was.
Dear Mr. Waiter, they opened the letter. It didn’t take long for him to identify the sender. You were the best waiter we could ask for. You were kind, helpful, accommodating didn’t treat us like babies, they shared.
He was sure it was the group of teenagers who he had served earlier on in the week. Seminole’s heart began to warm. What a sweet and kind gesture. He continued to read the compliments. So I wanted to say thank you for making our grown up experience so amazing and fun.
I would also like to say sorry on behalf of my group, they continued. They explained that they were unaware of the tipping etiquette due to it being their first time out alone. They never realized they had to leave a certain percentage of the bill for the server and that the server depended on tips to make a decent wage. So we emptied our pockets and all our money added up to three point $28. Then 700 began to make sense of the situation.
Everything suddenly made sense. The teens had not left the 328 tip due to their lack of appreciation. Instead, they got a bit carried away with themselves on their first solo dinner and forgot to keep track of their bill. When they finally got the bill they panicked at the price and then began rooting through their bags and pockets for anything they could find. Every adult has made mistakes during his youth.
Few go out of their way to make things right. Seminole was touched by their gesture. I’ve been serving a long time and nothing like this has ever happened to me or anyone. I don’t know how you learned or educated yourself on tipping but I really appreciate the effort and kindness Seminole shared on his social media. He also uploaded a picture of the teenager’s letter sharing their admirable efforts.
Friends, family and strangers voiced their opinions. Their reaction was more than positive. Most people working as servers in the hospitality industry earn less than minimum wage. They rely completely on tips to make up a decent wage. Those fortunate enough to be employed with five star restaurants make a steady wage with or without tips.